Sunderland 1 Stoke 1: Tony Pulis challenges Potters to finish in top half
Sunderland 1 Stoke 1: Tony Pulis sets Potters the challenge of finishing in the top half of the table earning a point
Tony Pulis set Stoke City the challenge of finishing in the top half of the table after a point at Sunderland hoisted them up into 11th place.
The Potters took a ninth-minute lead at the Stadium of Light when Jon Walters turned home the rebound from Charlie Adams’ corner.
Sunderland were reduced to 10 men when Craig Gardner was shown a straight red card for a dangerous lunge on Adam in the 34th minute.
But Paolo Di Canio’s men battled hard after the break and drew level when John O’Shea fired home from close range following Sebastian Larsson’s corner.
“We’re 11th in the Premier League at the moment with two games to go,” Pulis told Sky Sports. “If we can pick up a couple of wins, that will equal our record number of points in this league.
“Hopefully we can finish in the top half, which would be absolutely brilliant for us.”
Pulis, whose side host Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday in their next league game, insisted he was pleased with a draw in the circumstances.
“It was a hard-earned point,” he said. “You’ve got to give Sunderland a lot of credit, they showed a lot of spirit and togetherness.
“The players have come here with the right attitude – their spirit was fantastic. You have to battle away.
“We’re pleased that we’ve got the point – that takes us to 41. There’s a lot of clubs fighting this time around. I’m amazed that it isn’t sorted out yet.”
Meanwhile, Sunderland boss Di Canio praised his team for the resilience they showed after half-time as the Black Cats moved up to 15th place.
“I’m very happy,” said the Italian. “In the second half I saw the team that I wanted to see.
“I think we fully deserved the point – there was only one team in the second half in my opinion.”