Pulis pleased with start

Stoke boss happy despite 'toughest' ever opening to a season

Tony Pulis: Happy despite yet to win this season

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Stoke boss Tony Pulis insists that he is really pleased with their start to the season, despite the fact they are yet to win.

The Potters are also unbeaten with four draws from their opening four games, and Pulis insists this is the toughest start to a season they have endured since their return to the top flight in 2008.

But despite the difficulties, Pulis is happy with how things have gone ahead of their trip to European champions Chelsea on Saturday.

"We knew it was a tough start when we looked at it, it is probably the toughest start we have had in a Premier League season," said Pulis.

"We recognise that, understand it and get on with it, and I have been really pleased so far.

"I think the lads' application and approach to the games has been first class and we'll have to be the same again on Saturday."

Duck

Stoke are yet to earn a point in four trips to Stamford Bridge but Pulis is optimistic the duck could be broken in West London.

"It would be lovely to get something from Stamford Bridge and we have come close a few times, but we have also had our backside slapped a few times as well," he said.

"If we go there, work hard and give it a crack and things go our way, you never know."

Michael Owen made his Stoke debut as a late substitute against Manchester City last weekend.

Pulis has been impressed by the 32-year-old former England striker's efforts in training, but suggested he does not want to make too many adjustments to the first XI.

He added: "There has been a lot said about what we are and are not going to do with Michael.

"He has trained brilliantly again this week, but the lads did smashing against Man City and it will be difficult to change it."