Stoke City: Ryan Shawcross defends underfire Tony Pulis
STOKE City captain Ryan Shawcross has come out fighting for his under-fire manager Tony Pulis.
The Potters boss is facing increasing criticism from fans for the lack of entertainment on show from his team, particularly after Saturday's 1-0 home defeat to West Ham left them with just one win from their last nine league games.
But Shawcross says criticism of Pulis is unfair and insists the players have to take responsibility for their poor form.
Launching a staunch defence of his boss, Shawcross said: "The manager puts the team out there to win and I thought he put out a very attacking team on Saturday, but we didn't perform.
Call WHITEGATES Today 01782 209935 ..Limited offer. Available only up on production of voucher. Sell your home for £399 plus vat.* #EPC is required to market your home not included in offer.
Terms: *Upfront payment, non-refundable in the event of property remaining unsold, being withdrawn from the market or being sold by another agent, yourself or by any other means.#EPC £62.50 plus vat.
Contact: 01782 209 935
Valid until: Thursday, July 04 2013
"It is definitely on the players' heads."
And Shawcross, who was first brought to Stoke by Pulis in August 2007, said the players remained united behind the manager.
He added: "There's never been any doubt about that. He has been back at Stoke for seven years now and has done fantastically for the club; people soon forget how well he has done.
"He has done great for us and I am one of the players who thinks he is a top manager.
"He will get us out of this run and we will soon be on a winning run again."
However, Shawcross says he can understand why the team was booed off at half-time and full-time of the West Ham defeat after City created very little in front of goal.
He said: "It's not great when your fans boo, but it's something that you come to expect if you don't put a performance in which deserves a cheer. It is something we'll accept and move on.
"The manager has been great for this club and we have to fully back him. He will pick a team on Sunday to win and, if we do win at Newcastle, then everyone will forget about last weekend."
Stoke head to Newcastle hoping to improve on a run of just one win in their last 23 away games in the Premier League.
Alan Pardew's side will have less preparation time for the game because they play Anzhi Makhachkala in the Europa League in Moscow tonight.
Nonetheless, Shawcross says City are still expecting a difficult game against a Newcastle side who will go level on points with 11th-placed Stoke with a win at St James' Park.
He added: "It will be a tough test. They have a European game on Thursday which could take its toll, so hopefully they will be a bit tired. But they have a lot of great players.
"We go there hoping for three points. It is a difficult place to go, but we have shown in the past we can go there and win."
How can Stoke City snap out of their current poor run? Have your say on life at the Britannia Stadium by logging on to www.thisisstaffordshire.co.uk