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Pulis confident Stoke can beat drop

Tony Pulis remains adamant his Stoke City players can avoid relegation despite their free fall towards the Premier League drop zone.

• Blog: Stoke getting left behind

Following Sunday's 2-0 defeat to Manchester United, which leaves Stoke just three points clear of the bottom three, Pulis has challenged his squad to win two of their final five games of the season.

Stoke have picked up only five points since the turn of the year and Sunday's defeat leaves them deep in trouble ahead of the crucial trip to Loftus Road to face Queens Park Rangers at the weekend.

However, with games against fellow strugglers Norwich City and Sunderland also coming up, Stoke's fate remains well within their own hands, and Pulis is determined to look forward with optimism.

"I've spoken to the players," he said. "It's a five-game season. There's eight, maybe nine teams that are in the scrap. We've just got to make sure, no matter what's happened before, the season really starts for us now. I still say 40 points will do it.

"We just haven't had the breaks and that's what happens in runs like this. The most important thing is that you all stay nice and positive - and it's difficult to do that - and focus. What's gone has gone. The important thing is looking to the next game and then the next game."

The Stoke manager is battling to secure a sixth successive season in the top flight after a miserable run of one win in their last 14 games.


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