Stoke City: Tony Pulis's statement on Danny Murphy's criticism of him and Stoke City
Tony Pulis has responded to claims by Fulham captain Danny Murphy that he has endangered rival players by sending Stoke out too fired up. This is his statement in full...
FIRST of all, I'm disappointed to have to sit here today and defend accusations against a club I am very proud to manage.
Let me first state that, whatever we say or whatever we write, we should never let the facts get in the way of a good story.
We are, at Stoke City, the second most inexperienced team in the Premier League, just behind Blackpool.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
In our first season, we finished 12th in the Premier League, last season we finished 11th, one of only four teams in the history of this league to better its first season.
This season we are currently seventh, we have just finished the development of our new training ground, which has cost just over £10 million, we currently have 21,000 season-ticket holders and, on Saturday, we estimate that around 5,000 of our supporters will travel to Bolton Wanderers, more than Man Utd took three weeks ago.
The club is owned by a local family, the Coates's, who have not only supported the club for well over six decades, but established it as a debt-free organisation, something which is unique in today's climate.
I am very proud of this football club and the progress we have made so far.
Yes, we are and will strive to improve on what we have achieved to this date, in all aspects. This is what our aims and ambitions have always been about.
On the field, as I have stated, we currently lie seventh in the league. If you add last season's disciplinary league to this season's, we are currently joint 10th, alongside Arsenal, which is quite a feat considering we spend a great deal more time without the ball then they do. This is not fabricated, this is fact.
I firmly believe the game is cleaner today in terms of bad tackles than it has ever been, but I wish I could say the same in terms of other ills – such as simulation.
Tackling is an art form and we must never take it out of our game, no matter how much it suits certain players and certain clubs.
To do so, in my opinion, would destroy what makes the Premier League, and English football in general, so fantastic.
The fact that you can never envisage any team going out just to make the numbers up is what makes it so unique and special.
Blackpool's recent result at Anfield against Liverpool is a great example of this.
We must absolutely guard against rash tackles, whether committed by the most gifted player or just the mere mortals. However, we must also be realistic that we will never completely eradicate injuries in a contact sport.
Below us in both the disciplinary and the points tables lie some illustrious names.
Despite this, I am certain none of them send their players out, either intentionally or otherwise, to injure fellow professionals.
We have had, over the past seven league games, tackles that have been highlighted in the media.
Two challenges this season have been committed by top players who represented their countries at this summer's World Cup.
One challenge, on Newcastle United's Hatem Ben Arfa by Nigel de Jong, of Man City, led to a broken bone.
Another, by Joe Cole, one of our most technically gifted players, resulted in a sending off for one of our most celebrated clubs who are currently managed by Roy Hodgson, whom I have great respect for.
Even the technically best players are prone to making mistimed challenges, but have they really been sent out to hurt a fellow professional footballer? I don't think so.
How ironic is it that Danny Murphy chose not to discuss either challenge or manager in respect of those tackles. How selective can someone be?
Maybe Murphy's pursuit of a new career in the media does not allow him to criticise or fall out with the Premier League big boys. Instead, in my opinion, he has selected easy targets that are based on perception and not facts.