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Stoke boss Tony Pulis backs Asmir Begovic after error

Stoke City goalkeeper Asmir Begovic
Asmir Begovic has started the last 20 Premier League games for Stoke

Stoke manager Tony Pulis has supported goalkeeper Asmir Begovic after his early error helped West Ham on the way to a 3-0 victory on Saturday.

Begovic, 23, raced out of his goal to clear the ball but was involved in a mix-up with defender Marc Wilson, allowing Demba Ba to open the scoring.

Pulis told BBC Radio Stoke: "We've got a young goalkeeper who eventually could be as good as anyone in the league.

"He's young and he's learning. If you don't play them, they don't learn."

The Bosnia international pulled off a string of fine saves at the end of Stoke's 1-1 draw against West Bromwich Albion on Monday and also made a series of stops in the second half at Upton Park.

Begovic was unable, however, to prevent Manuel Da Costa doubling West Ham's lead before the interval and Thomas Hitzlsperger rifling home a third goal late on.

The Potters are 12th in the Premier League and having appeared to be in a position of relative safety, a sixth consecutive league defeat away from home has left Pulis' side just four points above the relegation zone.

"We need to get to 40 points as quick as we can," added Pulis. "It's no good worrying about what other people are doing.

"You've got to be dogmatic, single-minded and focus on what you've got to achieve as a group.

"We've got to make sure that we're better defensively than we were on Saturday, especially through the middle of the pitch."

The Potters have the chance to gain revenge on Sunday when the two teams meet again at the Britannia Stadium in the last eight of the FA Cup.

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see also
West Ham 3-0 Stoke
05 Mar 11 |  Premier League
Potters open talks with Sorensen
03 Mar 11 |  Stoke
Stoke 1-1 West Brom
28 Feb 11 |  Premier League
Stoke developing well - Begovic
25 Feb 11 |  Stoke
Potters reach Begovic resolution
16 Feb 11 |  Stoke

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