Stoke boss Tony Pulis calls for solidarity after Villa defeat

After watching his side slump to their eighth defeat in 12 games the Potters' boss called on everyone involved with the club to remain together through this difficult period
Under-pressure Stoke City manager Tony Pulis called on players, fans and staff to stick together after they were dragged into the relegation dogfight following a 3-1 loss to Aston Villa.

Stoke began the game brightly but Gabriel Agbonlahor put the visitors ahead in the 10th minute, before late goals from Matthew Lowton and Christian Benteke sealed all three points, despite substitute Michael Kightly's equaliser.

The Potters capitulation at the hands of a side who started the day in the bottom three angered the home fans, who joined in with chants of “you’re getting sacked in the morning” from the Villa fans and added their own “we’re not that lucky” in response.

"I think when things go against you they go against you," he told reporters.

"And at the moment things are going against us.

"The biggest thing is, in life when things are going well everyone’s happy and it all rolls and doesn’t take any character to roll with the good times and what you’ve got to do when the bad times come is show your character.

6/1 Stoke City are 6/1 with BetVictor to finish in the bottom three
"What we’ve got to do now as a group, and that’s not just as a team that’s everyone around the football club, has to stick together and make sure we get the six points to stay up."

Pulis’ side are on a wretched run of form in 2013, where they have only taken five points from a possible 36. However the 55 year-old insists he is not feeling worried despite the threat of the sack looming over him.

"That's up to Peter [Coates] and the Coates family who run the club," he said on the pressure of the axe.

"I've always given my best for the club and always will, and hopefully fingers crossed we'll get enough points to stay in the Premier League again.

"40 points we want, I’ve said that all along, nobody has ever heard me say we’re going to do this, that and the other.

"The first target is 40 points and I never get blaze about it. Other people might but I don’t."

The Welshman believes poor defending and two poor penalty calls from the referee combined to condemn the Potters to another defeat.

"I thought we started well but the first time they were in our box they scored a goal which was a poor poor goal," Pulis admitted.

"I thought in the first half then Villa looked the better side, created better chances than us, especially on the break, I thought they looked really bright on the break.

"I’ve just looked at the TV and we could’ve had two penalties easily, the first one hits Baker early on, his arms away from his body and it hits his hand and stops the ball going into the box.

"And the second one I think Vlaar gets a touch and actually stops Kenwyne [Jones] from going through and having a shot on goal in the box.

"[Kightly’s goal had] given everyone a lift and you think ‘we can go on and win this game’ and then he [Lowton] smashes one in and the third goal is us getting caught on the break."