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Thursday, March 7, 2013
Stoke's Shawcross backs under-fire Pulis

Ian Edwards

Stoke defender Ryan Shawcross has told fans that the players, not manager Tony Pulis, are to blame for an alarming slump in form.

The Potters captain leapt to the defender of the Britannia Stadium boss after a run of only one win in nine games led some supporters to call for change.

Shawcross said the players had to take full responsibility for the problems, which deepened when West Ham won 1-0 in the Potteries on Saturday.

He told the Stoke Sentinel: "The manager puts the team out there to win. I thought he put out a very attacking team on Saturday, but we didn't perform. It is definitely on the players' heads.

"It's not great when your fans boo, but it's something that you come to expect if you don't put a performance in which deserves a cheer. It is something we'll accept and move on."

Pulis will come under the spotlight again when Stoke travel to Newcastle this weekend looking to improve on a dreadful record of just one win in the last 23 away games.

Shawcross said the players were fully behind him, adding: "There's never been any doubt about that. He has been back at Stoke for seven years now and has done fantastically for the club. People soon forget how well he has done.

"I am one of the players who thinks he is a top manager. He will get us out of this run and we will soon be on a winning run again. If we do win at Newcastle, everyone will forget about last weekend."

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