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The Potters boss hits back following criticism of his management and believes that his side have made large strides forward during his reign at the Britannia Stadium

Stoke manager Tony Pulis has hit back at criticism he has received in the past few months as he believes that “expectations” have sky-rocketed.

The Potters all but secured their Premier League status with a 1-1 draw with Sunderland on Monday night as Jonathan Walters' first-half strike was cancelled out by John O’Shea.

And Pulis feels the club have progressed so much under his tenure that hopes from supporters and other critics are becoming unrealistic and over the top.

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“It’s always a test of your character and the way you manage, you have to keep the players focussed because they can easily lose it,” he told reporters.

“I might be a bit stubborn but if people want to give their opinion and voice their opinion it’s fine.

“If you look at the football club over the past six years since we got promoted from being a lower mid-table Championship side, we’ve been to four cup quarter-finals, a semi-final and the final of the FA Cup.

“We’ve got to the last 30 in Europe, we got more players that have ever played for their countries with us, in the 150-year history of the club.  

“We sell out the Britannia every week, expectations are going through the roof and you have to deal with it and understand it.

“There will always be an angle why they aren’t happy and you have to accept that, I’ve got thick enough skin.”

Pulis also believes the relegation battle this season in the Premier League has been out of the ordinary as just six points separate the 11th from 18th in the table with two games to play in the campaign.

“It’s very surreal when you’re looking at the table, we’re 11th in the league with two games to go and we’re still not mathematically safe, he added.

“I’ve been in the Premier League for five years with Stoke City and I’ve never known it to be this tight. It’s bite your nails time.”

“We’re very pleased to be on 41 points we’ve got two games to go. We’ll be looking to push on if we can. We’ve taken seven points from three games which has been very good for us.

“Managing in the Premier League, you have good times and you have bad times, the most important thing is you keep your feet on the ground and you keep focussed.”

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