Pulis wants positive start from Potters
Tony Pulis hopes Stoke can get off to a good start against Blackburn on Saturday after falling behind in every game so far this season. The Potters have trailed at half-time in every one of their Premier League games, managing only one goal in the opening 45 minutes - against Tottenham in August. Pulis said: "There have been some games where we haven't been too bad in the first half, we've just come in losing by a goal. "The players have worked really hard, they're a good group and they have got good character and they never give up. So you always know if you're losing a game they'll keep going right to the end. "It's just finding that formula where we can get on the front foot and take the game to them." Stoke were also slow out of the blocks in terms of results, with their opening three games bringing defeats against Wolves, Spurs and Chelsea. But an unbeaten September, including wins over Aston Villa and last weekend at Newcastle, have turned things around, with the Potters currently 14th in the table. Pulis, though, is not about to get carried away. He continued: "We did quite well in the first three games and even the Chelsea game, (Glenn) Whelan hit the underside of the crossbar, which would have made it 1-1 with only 12 minutes to go. "We've done all right but in the Premier League you've got to be relentless, you mustn't take your foot off the pedal and we have to make sure we keep working as hard as we possibly can and hopefully get the breaks we've been having the last couple of weeks and get as many points on the board as we can." Blackburn arrive in the Potteries one point and five places ahead of their opponents after a solid start to the season under Sam Allardyce. Last season's encounters favoured Stoke, with Pulis' side winning their home match 3-0 and dominating a goalless draw at Ewood Park, but the Welshman knows they have their work cut out to secure a repeat. He said: "It will be a difficult game. We had two really good games against them last year. They've started well. I watched them a couple of weeks ago at Manchester City and they did ever so well and could even have won that game." Blackburn are one of the teams Pulis believes Stoke will be battling against to ensure they preserve their Premier League status for a fourth successive season. "Outside the top eight to nine clubs, I think the rest of us are fighting for our lives," he said. "I'm putting Everton in there as well. Although they have had a poor start I still expect them to come charging through as the season progresses. "There's not that much difference between the rest of us." And, with the international break coming up after this weekend, Pulis is especially keen for Stoke to engineer another good result. He added: "If you don't you are stewing for a couple of weeks so if we could get a win then the fortnight would go a lot easier for me."
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