We're near the bottom of the league now

Last updated : 29 December 2003 By Tony Scholes

It was Stoke’s fourth win in five games, only a home draw against Preston had broken the sequence, but quite how manager Tony Pulis found it entertaining enough to actually enjoy it is difficult to understand but that is what he said after the game.

He then added: "We’ve worked really hard today to get those points, we knew it would be a difficult game for us and it was.

"Burnley played some good football and missed some good chances. You need a bit of luck sometimes and that’s what we are having at the moment.

"You have got to give the lads credit today because we lost Gerry Taggart. Ed De Goey and Marcus Hall and we have still managed to win. We showed plenty of character and commitment in the team today and got what we deserved."

Ade Akinbiyi’s attitude today was tremendous, especially when we went down to ten men and there is a lot more to come from him. With him up front at the moment the way he is playing we always look capable of scoring goals as he has showed today."

It was a different story from Stan who saw his side lose yet again: "It was the same old story really," he admitted. "I thought we were the better side in the first half but we then gave a poor goal away again. Graham has got the wrong side of Akinbiyi and the goal changed the game.

"There is no confidence in the side at the moment and we need a break, but we keep shooting ourselves in the foot by conceding bad goals.

"We will work hard in training and I am sure we are capable of going on a good run again, but there is always a bad spell and we are having one at the moment."

Looking at the situation in Division One after the games he added, "We’re near the bottom of the league now. We knew it wouldn’t be easy this season but I am confident that we can maintain our First Division status.

"We need to be strong mentally and to keep working hard and that is what we will do.

"2003 has been a nightmare, I’ve seen my side decimated."