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Page last updated at 21:22 GMT, Sunday, 17 April 2011 22:22 UK

FA Cup: Pulis praises Coates for Stoke transformation

Marc Walters
Stoke could become the first new winners of the FA Cup since Wimbledon in 1988

Tony Pulis has credited Stoke chairman Peter Coates with turning the club into a respected Premier League side after their historic win over Bolton.

Stoke reached the FA Cup final for the first time in their 148-year history by thrashing Bolton 5-0 at Wembley.

"The Coates family took over a club that was really down in the dumps and they've turned it around," Pulis said.

"We are trying to establish a team that gets better over time, but it's a long process of building."

The Potters reached their maiden Cup final in style, beating Bolton by a margin not achieved in an FA Cup semi-final in 72 years, and manager Pulis believes the club can build on this accomplishment.

"It's a fantastic achievement for everybody connected with the football club," Pulis told ESPN. "We've had a plan since we were promoted and now we want to build success.

"The first year we were in the Premier League we worked very hard at being organised and methodical in what we did. We have moved on from that and will continue to get better.

"Staying in the Premier League is vital for us. It has given us a little bit more resource to get the Matthew Etheringtons and Kenwyne Joneses, who we know will improve the team."

Pulis also praised his players and revealed that Stoke's victory was largely down to their success in preventing Bolton striker Kevin Davies from exerting his influence on the game.


"But to reach the final on a stage like this is great. We know Bolton and 90% of their goals came off phases of play off Kevin Davies so we narrowed everyone in and made sure their wide players were covered.

"From that tight position we knew we could cause them problems on the break."

Pulis admitted that personally the final on 14 May will take on even greater significance given that it is against Manchester City.

He was in charge of Gillingham for the old Second Division play-off final in 1999, a game Pulis' side lost to Manchester City on penalties despite being two goals ahead with a minute to play.

"I suppose it will mean more,'' he said. "We didn't deserve to lose that game and I had never been back to Wembley for a game since because of it. But it made me a much stronger person. You take things out of defeat as well as victory."

Bolton captain Kevin Davies has apologised on Twitter to the Trotters fans that made the journey to London, only to suffer a humiliating defeat.

"I am so sorry to all of you who came to support us and paid a lot of money. I am deeply upset and lost for words. Deserve the criticism," Davies tweeted.

Bolton manager Owen Coyle was at a loss to explain his side's implosion, but admitted that his players let themselves down badly.

"We haven't performed anywhere near what we are capable of," said Coyle. "That is the hurtful thing and it leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

"We gifted the goals and we capitulated. If we offered that every week we wouldn't be in the Premier League."

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The FA Cup results

17 Apr 2011 23:59 UK

see also
Bolton 0-5 Stoke
17 Apr 11 |  FA Cup
Sunday football as it happened
17 Apr 11 |  Football
Sunday's football photos
17 Apr 11 |  Football
Man City 1-0 Man Utd
16 Apr 11 |  FA Cup

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