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Coates wants Stoke inquest

Stoke City chairman Peter Coates wants the club to learn from their brush with relegation this season as the future of Tony Pulis remains under the microscope.

The Stoke City chairman has refused to comment publicly on Pulis' prospects of continuing as manager next season, now that the club's Premier League future is all-but secured for a sixth-successive season.

Coates has been alarmed at the dismal performance of the side over the second half of the season, which has led to supporter unrest and constant speculation concerning Pulis leaving his post this summer.

• Blog: One swallow does not a summer make

He fully admits there cannot be a repeat of the kind of performances which brought a paltry five points from a possible 42, before successive victories over Queens Park Rangers and Norwich City, but no public statement on Pulis' future will be made before the outcome of a scheduled meeting at the end of the season.

Coates has ploughed millions into the club and does not want a repeat of the anxieties of a miserable run since the turn of the year.

"We have had a very flat second half to the season and nobody is trying to hide that," he said. "You are always trying to learn from such things to try and improve."

Stoke slipped to within just three points of the drop zone before the back-to-back victories which have taken them to the brink of safety, much to the relief of Coates. "I know it is not mathematically guaranteed, but we are obviously delighted to be in the position we are in after two good wins. I was very anxious and very nervous.

"We deserved to win both games and it was a great relief because we haven't been in that position for a long time, but that's football and this is a tough league. You only have to look at all the teams down there.

"But the season is far from over because we have three games left and want to finish as high as we can."


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