Stoke City: No grudge with Roberto Mancini, says Tony Pulis
TONY Pulis insists there is no bad blood with Roberto Mancini after revealing that the Italian eventually apologised for snubbing him when they last met.
Mancini brings his Manchester City outfit to Stoke this afternoon (3pm) as reigning Premier League champions following last season's late heroics in May.
But his mood was darker on March 24 when he stormed from the technical area and refused to shake hands with Pulis following a 1-1 draw at the Britannia.
Mancini, furious with the result and the refereeing, also refused to attend the traditional after-match press conference.
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"What happened with Roberto Mancini and myself after the game is between me and him," said Pulis, "but, yeah, he called. And he spoke in Italian.
"I understand why Roberto was disappointed. They were in the mix then and we gave them a hard game and got a great result.
"We performed really well and I could understand it [his reaction].
"Like I say, I have no problems and no issues with him."
The Stoke boss said he and his players had a duty to make life awkward for the likes of Mancini and Man City in order to maintain the Premier League's unique appeal.
"The Premier League is not a level playing field," Pulis continued. "If you look what they have got and we have got, then there is an enormous gap.
"But the great thing about the Premier League is that teams can still be competitive.
"That's where we have it over the Spanish league. We actually can compete against the top teams on a given day. It's not like that in Spain when you look at Barcelona and Real Madrid.
"I hope it never gets like that in England. I hope it remains the same because we need that.
"Nobody enjoys coming to the Brit and we make it as difficult as we possibly can. Not in a bad way. We are just nice and competitive... and there is nothing wrong with that."
Pulis, who could include Michael Owen on the substitutes' bench and give a debut to midfielder Steven Nzonzi this afternoon, warned Stoke fans that Arsenal have already shown that the bigger clubs could be better armed to tackle life at the Britannia Stadium this season.
"I thought Arsenal did well here this time," he argued. "They were much stronger than previous teams they have brought here.
"When big clubs go to small clubs in this country we have a responsibility to give them a game and here at Stoke we try to do that.
"I have no issues with anyone. People say I have a problem with Wenger, but I don't know Arsene at all. I couldn't say if he was a nice man or a bad one. I have never really met him.
"You are competitive for 90 minutes and that is it.
"I never worry about what other people say. We spend too much of our lives worrying about what other people say and think, rather than what we believe is right."