Pulis takes pride as Jonas calls a halt on Stoke's great adventure
Valencia 1 Stoke City 0 (Valencia win 2-0 on aggregate)
Friday 24 February 2012
Tony Pulis, the Stoke manager, reflected on a thrilling seven-month adventure to the corners of the continent after his side's Europa League run was finally brought to an end by Valencia last night.
After beating Hajduk Split in Croatia in their very first game on 4 August and then coming through a group containing Besiktas, Dynamo Kiev and Maccabi Tel Aviv, Stoke found Champions League regulars Valencia one step too far.
Defeat at home last week left them with a mountain to climb and they might have managed it had Kenwyne Jones taken one of two glorious opportunities, but he fluffed his lines and Jonas' 24th-minute goal earned Los Che a 1-0 win on the night and 2-0 on aggregate.
Pulis said of the run: "It's been fantastic, we've really enjoyed it. It's given everybody at the club a lift. It's something we've never experienced before.
"To play the number of games we have in Europe, to go all over Europe – and sometimes, in my mind, just outside Europe, and I've been caned for that – but tonight we had a right go.
"In the first 20 minutes, if we'd just have had a bit of luck, we needed a goal and it just didn't come. But the players have been absolutely brilliant, and even at the end Kenwyne missed a header that normally he'd score from. We needed to take our chances, we didn't do that, but the rest of the game we were absolutely fantastic."
Pulis was criticised in some quarters for his squad selection, leaving the likes of Peter Crouch, Walters, Matthew Etherington and Ryan Shawcross behind and handing starts to Salif Diao and Diego Arismendi in midfield, while Jones, Ricardo Fuller and Cameron Jerome formed a front three. "The team I played today is the team that have played the majority of games in Europe. I don't know what all the fuss is about," said Pulis, whose side was urged on in the Mestalla by 7,000 Stoke fans who had made the trip from the Potteries.
Valencia Guaita, Bruno, Rami, Dealbert, Jordi Alba, Parejo, Topal, Pablo, Jonas (Soldado, 62), Piatti (Feghouli, 62), Aduriz. Substitutes not used Diego Alves, Albelda, Barragan, Victor Ruiz, Mathieu.
Stoke City Sorensen, Diao, Huth, Woodgate, Collins, Arismendi (Shotton, 65), Delap, Palacios (Pennant, 65), Jerome, Jones, Fuller. Substitutes not used Begovic, Dawson.
Referee M Strombergsson (Sweden).
Porto threaten complaint over incredible abuse
Porto are considering a bizarre complaint to Uefa against Manchester City fans after they taunted Brazilian striker Hulk with chants of "You're not incredible".
Hulk was also targeted by City fans with calls of "cheat" and Porto communications director Rui Cerqueira said they would take action about the "improper behaviour that may be normal in England but [that] Porto want to help eradicate from sport".
The action may be seen as retaliation for City's complaint – and Uefa's charge – that Porto fans racially abused Mario Balotelli and Yaya Touré at Estadio do Dragao last week. Porto deny that charge; a disciplinary hearing will be held on 29 March.
Latest in Sport
Liverpool, Chelsea or Manchester City: Who will be the eventual winners in the race for the Premier League title?
Daniel Sturridge injury: Liverpool striker to have tests on hamstring problem
Transfer news: Diego Costa move to Chelsea impossible to stop, admits Diego Simeone
Fulham so grateful to faithful fans the players have been calling them to say thanks for renewing their season tickets
Hillsborough disaster anniversary: Brendan Rodgers and Roberto Martinez among those at Anfield to pay tribute to the 96 who lost their lives
- 1 Refugee facing deportation from Sweden saved by fellow passengers refusing to let plane leave
- 2 The best movies on Netflix: 32 films that will end your endless scrolling
- 3 24 people applied for the 'world's toughest job', here are their interviews
- 4 What's in the safe? Man live-photographs cracking of mysterious locked box on Reddit
- 5 Drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline bribed doctors to boost sales, says whistleblower
David Cameron: 'Jesus invented the Big Society – I'm just continuing God's work'
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
Nigel Farage on Have I Got News For You: Ukip leader ridiculed over expenses and party 'fruitcakes'
Ukip and Nigel Farage on the up over Maria Miller furore and 'Sexminster' culture
Refugee facing deportation from Sweden saved by fellow passengers refusing to let plane leave