Spirit key for Middlesbrough boss Tony Pulis after gridning out point at Stoke City

MIDDLESBROUGH manager Tony Pulis, who spent over a decade at the helm at Stoke City, is still unbeaten against his former employers.

Middlesbrough manager Tony Pulis (Picture: Richard Sellers/PA Wire).

The visitors’ dressing room was struck down with a sickness bug in the build-up to the game, and Pulis said: “It hasn’t been good and a couple of players have played [against Stoke] who haven’t been 100 per cent.

“What you’ve seen again is the players give everything for this football club. That’s all you can ask for.

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“Everyone has bought into that spirit I want as a manager. They’ve shown it again and that spirit takes you a long way.

“The conditions were very difficult to start with and both sets of players went about it in the right manner.

“A little bit of quality and composure in the final third could have won us the match.

“You’re always pleased with a point away from home.

“I know more than anyone how tough a place this is to come. I actually forgot how windy this place can be”

Gary Rowett’s powerful Potters created numerous clear-cut chances, but failed to breach the most watertight defence in the English Football League. Boro have conceded just eight league goals so far this season.

Stoke’s star-studded front three of Benik Afobe, Tom Ince and Saido Berahino all had decent chances to find the back of the net.

But Darren Randolph pulled off a string of fine saves to keep the game goalless as did his opposite number Jack Butland.

Stoke City: Butland, Edwards, Williams, Shawcross, Martins Indi, Allen, Woods, Etebo, Ince, Afobe, Berahino. Unused substitutes: McClean, Clucas, Martina, Fletcher, Crouch, Krkic, Federici.

Middlesbrough: Randolph, Fry, Batth, Flint, Friend, Howson, Clayton, Besic, Downing, Hugill, Braithwaite. Unused substitutes: Assombalonga, McNair, Saville, Wing, Tavernier, Lonergan, Gestede.

Referee: Robert Jones (Merseyside).