Writer: Barry Worthington
Date:Thursday November 6 2008
Stoke City manager Tony Pullis is already looking for excuses ahead of this weekends clash at the JJB with Wigan Athletic citing Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger`s comments regarding last weekends game and how the football world maybe now viewing Stoke City
Pullis is concerned that Arsene Wenger saying that he felt Stoke players played the man rather than the ball may influence referees, he told reporters:
'I've left a message for Keith Hackett because I want to speak to him about Arsène's comments and the possible implications, Perception is a massive thing in football and I don't want referees to take any notice of what Arsène has said. What he has come out with is way off the mark.
'We played at Manchester City a couple of weeks ago and didn't get a single booking. Not to get a booking in an away game in the Premier League is no mean feat. What we certainly are is competitive but football is about challenge and competitiveness is not a dirty word in this country.
"I'm just going to tell Keith Hackett that I expect referees to act on what they see and not on what they hear. Luckily, we've got a very experienced referee in Mike Riley at Wigan on Saturday and I'm confident there will be no problems.'
Pullis is extremely angry but is Wenger wrong?
On the evidence of footage from the game Stoke players certainly did get 'stuck in` and Pullis maybe a little wary of referees watching this and being alerted to the tactics of his side coping with more talented players than what they were used to facing in the Championship last season
I have watched Stoke on three occasions this season, Arsenal, Spurs and Chelsea and I admit that I have to agree with Wenger, they are nothing but an ale-house side and resemble a team of thugs, as the old uns say, they`ll get football done away with
Vital Latics - Looking forward to giving Stoke a good thrashing on Saturday
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Date:Thursday November 6 2008
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