Pulis - Villa will be tough

27 February 2009 01:53
Stoke boss Tony Pulis admits his side will have their work cut out if they are to beat Aston Villa.

The Potters come up against Martin O'Neill's side in a crucial game for both parties, albeit for very different reasons.

O'Neill fielded a vastly under-strength squad against CSKA Moscow in the Uefa Cup this week, leaving no doubt where his priorities lie.

Villa will be all out for the win in a bid to secure UEFA Champions League qualification against a Stoke side battling for survival in the Premier League.

ToughPulis admits his side face a stiff task against a refreshed Villa squad, saying: "This will be very tough for us."

Asked his thoughts on O'Neill's decision to rest so many key players against CSKA Moscow, Pulis said: "I almost felt like ringing Martin to complain about that!

"But he knows what he wants for his club and he has handled his squad accordingly.

"I suppose that the pot of gold which comes from qualifying for the Champions League is all important to a club like Villa. I'm not surprised by what he did.

"But it means that they will be coming at us with all guns blazing now on Sunday, I have no doubts about that.

Priorities"Finishing in the top four for them is all important and they will have all their big name players back for our game.

"In some ways it is interesting that he (O'Neill) pays us that much respect because he wants to win this one and get his club into Europe's elite."

Pulis went on to compliment the Villa boss for his accomplishments during his managerial career.

"Martin (O'Neill) is a fine manager and has been successful everywhere he has been."

He added: "I would be delighted to see Villa break into the top four. There is a barrier to break down."

Source: SKY_Sports