Stoke City: Tony Pulis goes on the attack over referee claims
TONY Pulis denies he is on the warpath against the country's leading referees after claiming he has been misrepresented over recent controversies involving the Potters.
The Stoke City manager says his players and referee Lee Mason were put under unfair pressure ahead of Saturday's goalless draw at Tottenham because of the fall-out from the Marouane Fellaini controversy.
And he moved swiftly before and after the game to refute newspaper claims he had contacted referees' chief Mike Riley to complain that Fellaini should have been hit with more than the retrospective three-match ban he received last week for head-butting Ryan Shawcross.
Referring to reports in the national press on Saturday morning, Pulis said: "An article said I spoke to Mike Riley, or sent him a letter, but I haven't.
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"Things like that disappoint you enormously because it puts pressure on the team and the football club. I've spoken to David Moyes to put the record straight.
"I thought there was a lot of pressure on the referee on Saturday after seeing a lot of articles in the papers during the week, but I thought Lee did well."
Stoke did have five players booked, but Pulis refused to get drawn into any controversy there by adding: "We'll have a look at the bookings, but I thought he did well in respect of the way the media built this game up."
Such concerns have done nothing to encourage Pulis to lift a blanket ban on players talking to the media in the wake of last week's tragic death of Charlie Adam's father in Scotland. But Pulis himself ended his own week-long silence by recording his delight with the efforts of his players in making it eight games unbeaten – Stoke's longest such sequence in the Premier League – following a gutsy draw at White Hart Lane.
"I thought after the first half we should have come in winning the game," he said, "but in the second half they had more of the game and you'd expect them to.You look at the quality they've got, the money they've spent, the size and tradition of their football club, and that's why I will always be pleased to come and get a point off of Tottenham."
Pulis, left, admitted Stoke were indebted to Asmir Begovic's injury-time save, but said that was also proof of his team's excellent defensive endeavours.
"He's had one notable save in the whole game," he argued. "Apart from that, all the lads did brilliant.
"But it was a great save," he conceded. "Asmir has been fantastic since we bought him. He's been a dream really and works his socks off.
"But it's difficult to pick out individuals from a performance like this because they all contributed towards a great result."
Stoke, who enter Christmas with more points on the board than in any of their four previous Premier League campaigns, now face back-to-back home games against Liverpool on Boxing Day (7.45pm) and Southampton next Saturday (3pm) as they bid to chase down the club's top-flight record of 11 successive games undefeated.
Michael Owen was at White Hart Lane on Saturday to undergo a very public work-out on the pitch before the game to demonstrate the efforts to return the former England star to full fitness.