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Pulis: Gerrard jibe a compliment'

Tony Pulis bears no malice towards Steven Gerrard and has taken his recent anti-Stoke comments as a back-handed compliment.

•  Gerrard backtracks
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Liverpool captain Gerrard upset two sets of supporters when he accused Everton of playing like Pulis' side following last weekend's Merseyside derby.

Stoke face a perennial struggle to shrug off their label as a long ball side - despite Pulis stating in the last few days that he is looking to refine the club's playing style.

Gerrard retracted his initial comments within 24 hours and apologised to both clubs, claiming his words had been spoken in the heat of the moment after the frustrating draw at Goodison Park.

But Pulis insists he has no issue with the England midfielder's outburst and is happy for his club to be compared with David Moyes' side, who are fifth in the Premier League table.

"Actually I thought it was a compliment! I know Steven has apologised for what he's said but I actually took it as a compliment that Everton play like Stoke," he said.

"Everton have done fantastic this season and are a good side."

Pulis has spent the last four years dealing with constant criticism of Stoke's style since taking the club back to the Premier League and insists he has no problem with Gerrard.

"I've got a great respect for Gerrard. He's a great advert for English football. Was I surprised? No. People know me by now and I don't give a flying...

"I don't take the criticism to heart, if it could even be classed as criticism."

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