Title race a test of nerves - Pulis

23 April 2010 04:45
Stoke manager Tony Pulis believes the Premier League title will go to the club which holds its nerve best.

Pulis' side can have a major say in where the title finally rests with away trips to the top two in their final four matches, starting with Sunday's game at Chelsea.

It is a daunting end to the campaign for Pulis and his side, who are on the brink of surpassing last season's position and points tally in what was their first campaign in the top flight during the Premier League era.

Stoke will have England prospect Ryan Shawcross back in their squad for the first time since February after an ankle injury and Pulis knows he will need all his best players to survive at Stamford Bridge.

He said: "We can almost touch 46 points now, it is very important that we overtake last season's tally of 45, and to maintain our position in the top half. That shows progress.

"If we can get to that mark it will be a cracking season for us, better than the last one and showing we have got better.

"I certainly wanted to get to that stage in points won, or close, before we faced the last few games at Chelsea and Manchester United and at home to Everton, as well as a visit to Fulham.

"They were always going to be tough games. Everton are a very well organised side with their injured players back now, while going to Stamford Bridge and Old Trafford will see us facing one of the sides who will be the champions.

"If Chelsea don't do it then it will be Manchester United. That is a tough end to a season for anyone and we are aware of the challenge."

Pulis added: "I have said that Chelsea would win the title, certainly a few weeks ago I felt that. But they have had a hiccup and Manchester United are still there.

"Chelsea may be missing John Terry, who is suspended, but they could have Ashley Cole back on Sunday and he is a an outstanding player. They have missed him.

"It is all to play for. It is whoever holds their nerve best now. Both teams have been there before, they've both won the title so there is no lack of experience within the title race, you are not facing a situation where one side is finding it all a bit different.

"It will be interesting and it is really good for us and our fans that we are pitting our wits against two teams who are going flat out against us. That will be an incentive for us to face up to.

"Chelsea have enough to cope without Terry, they have great strength in depth and can pick two teams capable of being at the very top."

Pulis' only injury doubt is striker Mamady Sidibe with a groin problem.

But he added: "We can upset them. We will give it our best show and we have nothing to lose. All the pressure will be on Chelsea.

"I'm not sure we will enjoy it, but we know we can work hard and give it the best we can.

"But you are always concerned against the top four or five clubs, if they are firing right you can end up with your pants pulled down and your backsides really slapped. But we aim to give it our best shot.

"We have been close to them without taking any points off them. We know we are capable of causing an upset."

Source: Team_Talk