Pulis hopes extra defensive training pays off for Stoke

The Potters boss has subjected his squad to more work this week in a bid to rid them of their defensive deficiencies evident in last week's defeat to Manchester United
Stoke manager Tony Pulis is hoping that forcing his team to relive their defensive horror show against Manchester United last week, will prevent a repeat in the clash with Sunderland.

Pulis is all too aware that if similar mistakes are made, one of the "bargains of the season", in-form Black Cats striker Steven Fletcher will be all too willing to capitalise.

The Potters conceded four last week against United, all from crosses and as such, Pulis forced his players to watch the DVD of the performance back, alongside extra training.

The 54-year-old Welshman has admitted it will take a much improved defensive display to take any points from the Sunderland encounter.
14/1 Stoke are 14/1 with bet365 to beat Sunderland 3-0

He told ESPN: "We know we are going to have to defend a lot better than we did at Old Trafford. The lads were disappointed with the part they played in conceding those goals.

"We've had a good look at the video of that match and worked on the training ground at things this week. We have to work hard to make sure we do keep clean sheets."

And having come up against the inventive and penetrating triumvirate of Wayne Rooney, Danny Wellbeck and Robin van Persie last week, Pulis is under no illusion that Sunderland's £14 million signing Fletcher could also offer his side problems tomorrow.

"Sunderland paid a lot of money for Fletcher, but he's certainly given them a good return. He might prove to be one of the bargains of the season," he continued.

"He's good in the box, he's always on the move and he's thrived on the good service he gets from wide players who get crosses into the box.

"He had that at Wolves with [Michael] Kightly and [Matt] Jarvis, now it is [Adam] Johnson and [James] McClean, while [Sebastian] Larsson is good from set-plays as well.

"But if we keep clean sheets, then we will win games. Look at the game at Old Trafford. If we'd kept a clean sheet, we'd have won the game."