'I’m quite happy with what I have brought over' - Stoke's Tony Pulis dismisses concerns over Europe League squad

The Potters boss reiterated his commitment to the European competition, despite taking just 15 players for the second leg of their tie with Valencia
Stoke manager Tony Pulis insists he is not gambling with his side's Europa League chances by taking just 15 players to Spain for a second-leg tie with Valencia.

Despite leaving nine senior players at home for the trip - including Ryan Shawcross, Peter Crouch, Jonathan Walters and Matthew Etherington - Pulis claimed he was happy with his squad options as the Potters look to overturn a 1-0 first-leg deficit.

“I’m quite happy with what I have brought over," he told reporters.

"If you look at the squad, every player I have brought is an international, have a look at the team I pick and make your mind up."

The Welshman dismissed comparisons with Martin O'Neill's decision to rest senior players for former club Aston Villa's trip to CSKA Moscow in the same competition three years ago.

O'Neill's relationship with the club's faithful deteriorated in the aftermath of that defeat, with many citing the disdain with which he treated travelling fans as a factor.

“Don’t class this with what happened with Martin O’Neill and Villa," Pulis said.

"The team I play will be worth £20 million, it’s not the same as the Villa situation."

Stoke will have only four substitutes on the bench for the crucial game against their Spanish opponents, including relative unknown Lucas Dawson, 18.

However, Pulis argues that the squad's strength merely reflects the resources he has to work with.

“We picked up a few injuries on Sunday against Crawley," he added.

"And one or two players have looked, over the last two days, very tired and very empty, especially the front two of Jon Walters and Peter Crouch.

“The majority of players will have been involved in European competition. So it’s not as if it’s their first game.

“I’ll be disappointed if we’re not strong enough to give Valencia a game. I don’t want to give my starting XI away, but it will be a strong one."

Pulis went on to talk up the experience of the side that he is likely to send out arguing that the players at his disposal have plenty of international experience.

He said: “I’ll tell you now, I’ve got a back four and everyone is a full international, plus the goalkeeper.

“I’ve got three midfield players who are full internationals, two out of three forwards who are internationals, I’ve got a captain who has played for his country.

“It’s not a weak team. It’s the right squad, it’s fresh and ready to go.”

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