Stoke City v Chelsea: Rafa Benitez should stay strong like I once did, says Tony Pulis
TONY Pulis is urging Rafa Benitez to stay strong against the boo boys – just as he once had to at Stoke City.
Benitez will hear almost as much opposition from Chelsea fans as their Stoke rivals at the Britannia tomorrow (3pm).
But Pulis says the former Liverpool boss has to tough it out and then gradually prove people wrong.
"I had it when I first came back here," Pulis recalled. "You have to grind it out, you have to get through it and you have to get results.
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"If he gets results and gets lucky, then he's got a fantastic football club to build.
"You have to accept there'll be people who dislike you.
"But just do your best and hope you get the backing and chance to put things in place that people will go on to say 'yes, he's doing a decent job' ."
Benitez arrives at the Britannia under further stress following back-to-back home defeats to QPR and Swansea.
Pulis believes Stoke's stability is something Chelsea, for all their size and success, might even learn from in the long-term.
"You've got to let people get on with their jobs.
"I do believe stability within a club breeds success – and continued success – and I think they had that for a period with (Jose) Mourinho."
And he believes strong management from above, like that seen at Stoke during the dark days, can keep the critics at bay.
He added: "Supporters have a big say on what happens at clubs. That's why you need a board of directors or a chairman who can come out and say 'this is what we're going to do and this is how we're going to do it.'
"'Give us a go, and if you don't like what's going on then fine, we're going to stick with it so get behind the club'."
MICHAEL Tonge, who made just one Premier League start in four-and-a-half years at Stoke, has joined Leeds on a two-and-a-half year contract for an undisclosed fee.
Match preview: Page 54