Pulis: We're not safe yet

Stoke manager Tony Pulis still does not accept his side are safe from relegation from the Premier League despite the 1-0 victory over Blackburn lifting them to 39 points.

The Potters, in their maiden Premier League season, are now 11th – eight points clear of the drop zone and only six points outside the last qualification spot for Europe.

However, Pulis will not allow his players to ease up even though it would take an odd run of results with five matches remaining to see his side drop out of the top flight.

“It is an enormous win against a team that is down there and scrapping for their lives. It was a big game today,” he said.

“I’m just very pleased we have come away with the three points.

“But I still think you have to get into the 40s because teams can go on a run.

“Fulham and Bolton did it last year when they picked up a lot of points coming to the end of the season so we will be desperately keen to go to Fulham next Saturday trying to get that elusive point or three points.”

A rare moment of quality in a game of hustle and bustle saw Liam Lawrence display a cool head to clinch victory 15 minutes from time.

Danny Higginbotham’s deep cross from the left was flicked on by James Beattie but there was still a lot to do when the ball reached Lawrence.

He took a touch, turned inside full-back Gael Givet and drilled a fierce shot into the near post which Paul Robinson got a hand to but could not keep out.

It was only Lawrence’s second of the season, his first coming on August 23.

“Liam had a great shot just beforehand which Robinson made a great save from so it is about time Liam actually popped up with a goal,” added Pulis.

Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce believes Stoke no longer have to worry about the relegation battle his side are still embroiled in.

“They are still catchable if they lose their games they have left but I think they are safe,” he said.

Allardyce, who has been hampered by injuries to key strikers in the last few weeks, was disappointed with his side’s lack of a cutting edge.

“From a defensive point of view I thought we were very good but from an attacking point of view we didn’t do as we wanted today and really use the possession we had to the best we possibly could,” he added.

“That left us deficient in terms of trying to assert some pressure on Stoke’s back four.

“We wasted possession, our quality was lacking today and hence we had to defend for long periods.

“But we looked pretty comfortable doing it and for me I never saw that cross turning into a goal, I thought it was one we were going to deal with.

“Unfortunately it sneaked through to Lawrence who showed a little bit of good skill to score.

“On the overall game the best we were going to get was a point but that one slip has cost us that.”

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