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The 54-year-old has backed his side to pick up after an inconsistent start to the season and insists his players are playing better than they ever have in the Premier League

Stoke City manager Tony Pulis has backed his players to get into the winning habit after a slow start ot the season, starting with their clash against Swansea City on Saturday.

The Potters have only taken four points from their five opening games this term, but the 54-year old believes that his players have shown signs of improvement, especially compared to previous seasons.

"If we keep playing the way we have been playing and work as hard as we have done, then I’m confident our fortunes will change," Pulis told the club's official website.

"In terms of starts to a season, this is certainly as well as we’ve played since we’ve been in the Premier League and I’m sure that the results will come.

"The important thing is that we’re trying to keep moving forward and we’ve put things in place to improve the football club. We’ve brought in some players this season who will help us to do that, but it takes time when you make those changes.

11/2 Michael Owen is 11/2 with bet365 to open the scoring when Stoke face Swansea on Saturday

"I think our supporters can see what we are trying to do and they appreciate that it is the right way. We have known from the outset that this was going to be a tough start to the season, so there is a need for us all to be patient."

The former Plymouth boss is expecting a tough test when Swansea visit the Britannia Stadium on Saturday and has highlighted an added steel to the Swans' midfield.

"Swansea did exceptionally well last season and they started this season well," he said. "It is impressive what they have done over the last few years.

"I think they are physically more adept now because Michael Laudrup has brought in two players in the middle of the park who have given them more strength."