Tony Pulis labelled as “absolutely disgraceful” the way he believes Stoke have “spun” claims he called Ryan Shawcross a “loser”.
The West Brom manager, whose team on Saturday rescued a 2-2 Premier League draw at West Ham with Gareth McAuley’s stoppage-time header, said he used the word “loser” but not in an aggressive way.
As the fall-out from Saido Berahino’s ban for using a recreational drug and his transfer from West Brom to Stoke continued, their manager Mark Hughes on Friday insisted his predecessor Pulis called Shawcross a loser in a voicemail he left the defender.
However, Pulis claimed he told Shawcross “you’ve never been that”, and that he felt “innuendos and allegations” about him were wrongly coming out of his former club.
“It’s absolutely disgraceful,” said the 59-year-old after McAuley’s goal had cancelled out second-half efforts from Sofiane Feghouli and Manuel Lanzini. Nacer Chadli had given West Brom a half-time lead.
“Firstly, the phone call I made to Ryan is private.
“And then, yes, I did mention losers, but I said about people with innuendos making allegations that weren’t true.
“When you lose a game of football you can still be a winner by taking it on the chin and getting on with it.
“I did use the word loser but I meant it in that way and I actually said, ‘Ryan, you’ve never been that’.
“It has been spun in a horrible way and I have to say, Stoke-on-Trent, forget about the football club, or the people at the football club, and the supporters, Stoke-on-Trent is a wonderful place.
“I was there for 10 years and I have raised millions of pounds for the Donna Louise (Children’s Hospice), which is in Stoke-on-Trent.
“I’ve actually carried the Olympic torch through Stoke-on-Trent. I took them from the Championship to the Premiership.
“I took them to an FA Cup final and to Europe. Do you think I’m gong to criticise that area and those people?
“It’s absolutely disgraceful whoever has put that out.
“I don’t usually respond to bait and things like that, but I am really, really disgusted that from a few days before we played Stoke, (about) the innuendos coming out about Berahino, West Brom and myself.”
Pulis was satisfied with his team’s performance and Slaven Bilic was also pleased with the Hammers’ – particularly in the absence of the injured Andy Carroll.
In response to McAuley’s late leveller, Bilic followed his assistant Nikola Jurcevic in being sent off after he angrily threw a television microphone to the ground and later criticised the performance of referee Michael Oliver.
Bilic and Jurcevic face bans, but asked if that was a concern, the manager said: “Whatever. We are more than enough punished during the game.
“It’s a solid microphone, don’t worry. It’s frustrating after this game; we should be all positive, we should be talking about great performances, coming back and everything, but to have that bitter feeling is not good.
“There were four or five decisions and all of them went totally against us. It’s building up your frustration. Then at the end you don’t understand it. It’s hard to get over that.
“This was, including last season, one of our best games. To end like this, conceding a late goal after everything that happened regarding the decisions, it’s very frustrating and hard to accept. That’s why I’m proud of my team but also very, very angry at the decisions.
“Our disallowed goal, they ruled it out because of offside. It wasn’t offside. A couple of penalties, not big ones…but after those decisions you’re counting them also.”