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The man who helped Tony Pulis keep the Potters in the top flight doesn't think the Catalans could dominate in England like they did in Spain....

Stoke City were one of the success stories of this Premier League season, as their blue-collar approach to the game, coupled with a fearsomely intimidating home stadium, kept them in the top flight when most observers had tipped them for a swift return to the Championship.

Their style may have won them few friends outside of Staffordshire, but many of the Premier League's 'big' clubs found themselves leaving the Britannia Stadium bruised, battered and beaten over the course of the campaign.

The man who assisted manager Tony Pulis in his task was former Tottenham Hotspur manager Gerry Francis, and the ex-England international has opined that newly crowned European champions Barcelona would struggle to sustain their Spanish and continental success over the course of a long English winter.

"I'm not sure whether over that 38 game period they would necessarily win it, with the likes of Manchester United, and Chelsea, and Liverpool, as well as Arsenal [in there]," Francis told Sky Sports News earlier.

"Away to Stoke [as well], obviously that's a tough game," he joked.

"It would certainly be different to what they're used to in the Spanish League, and that is the difference with the Premiership, because it is the hardest league in the world to win and to compete in," he explained.

"I think they'd certainly have a culture shock in some situations, but they have got great talent, and I'm sure they would be in and around the top four."

Zack Wilson, Goal.com



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