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May 11, 2013

Pulis proud of Stoke achievement

Tony Pulis believes clinching a sixth successive season in the Premier League has established Stoke City as regular members of the top flight and should silence critics once and for all.

• Blog: Pulis should go with Flo

With the financial backing of Peter Coates to the reported tune of almost £90 million during the last five seasons, Stoke have defied the pundits who claimed their rustic approach would not be good enough to survive.

Pulis has been tipped for relegation for at least four of the five seasons that Stoke have kicked against the established order and now he feels they should be regarded as bona fide members of one of the toughest leagues in the world.

Only a mathematical miracle can prevent Stoke kicking off next season in the top flight after seven points from the last nine ahead of Sunday's150th anniversary celebrations against Tottenham.

"I think we have worked hard enough now to be looked upon as an established Premier League side and that is an achievement to be proud of," Pulis said.

Pulis has been hounded this season by a growing number of frustrated fans who have called for his sacking and speculation over his future at the club has been rife for the last few months.

"Of course expectations have increased, you cannot help that, because the more successful you are the more people want. That is the challenge," he added.

"We have secured the chance for our sixth consecutive season in the Premier League and that's fantastic for a club once going nowhere as an average Championship side – let's not kid ourselves there – but now an established Premier League club.

"The people of Stoke-on-Trent should be proud of what has happened. With some people, whatever you give them, they will want more. Fine, that's up to them if that's the way they lead their lives."

Pulis stressed he remained appreciative of the support given by the vast majority of fans when the chips were down during Stoke's recent descent towards the bottom three.

He said: "Even when we got beat by Aston Villa, I've got to say the support was so good. The support that then came with us to QPR was terrific, then the atmosphere and togetherness in the next match at home to Norwich was fantastic.

"We have been on a tremendous journey and our supporters have been with us every step of the way. That's why this is all their achievement as well."

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