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Pulis defends poor Stoke run

Tony Pulis has launched a passionate defence of Stoke City's season in response to growing criticism of the club's lack of progress this season.

• Whittaker: Complacency at Stoke

Pulis is aware of the critics who are becoming frustrated with performance levels and has also been forced to deal with questions over the side's miserable away record, which has hampered a push for a top ten finish.

The Stoke manager will inch closer to securing a sixth successive season in the Premier League with victory over West Ham United tomorrow and is irritated by the negative attitude towards his achievements.

"What we are doing is putting an infrastructure in place that a lot of Premier League clubs would like and we are doing that and staying in the league at the same time," said Pulis.

"We are doing that because we want a future with a good side in the Premier League.

Despite a run of only one win in 23 away Premier League games, Pulis insists his side do not deserve the criticism and performances have been far better than results suggest. "You take Manchester City, Swansea and the first half at Fulham last week out of it and our performances away have been better this season," he said.

"Even against the top teams, we've got draws at Liverpool and Tottenham, we went to Manchester United and gave them a game, went to Chelsea and were unlucky and went to Arsenal and got beat by a deflected goal."

Pulis' passionate defence of his side is backed by an impressive record at the Britannia Stadium where Stoke have lost just once in their last 20 league games.

"Our home form has been fantastic this year and we've got to continue to make sure we get results. We need the points for safety," he said.

"We must never forget what a tough league this is. There's a certain complacency that can creep into places and we mustn't let that get too deep."

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