Tony Pulis hails 'fantastic' Stoke achievement

Tony Pulis has described Stoke's progress to the last 32 of the Europa League as a "milestone" for the club.

Kenwyne Jones' header ensured Stoke drew with Dynamo Kiev to go further than they ever have before in Europe.

"What we've done is fantastic and we've qualified from what I think is the toughest group," said Pulis.

Europa League Group E

Played Won Pts

Stoke

5

3

11

Besiktas

5

3

9

D Kiev

5

1

6

Macc Tel-Aviv

5

0

1

"It's the first time this football club has ever achieved this, so it's another milestone and is testimony to everything we're trying to do."

Stoke's only previous foray into European competition was in the 1970s, when the Potters were twice eliminated in the first round of the old Uefa Cup - first by Kaiserslautern and then by Dutch giants Ajax.

But Stoke foiled Dynamo - who fielded 10 of the team that defeated Manchester City in last season's competition - and need just one point at Besiktas to confirm their status as Group E winners.

"That's nine games in Europe and nine games unbeaten. It's a great, great achievement," said an ecstatic Pulis.

"It's very difficult for Premier League teams to play in the Europa League because you come back and every game is like a cup final.

"You can look at other European leagues and the strength in depth isn't as great. It's a real struggle in that respect but we want to do well.

That's nine games in Europe and nine games unbeaten. It's a great, great achievement

Tony Pulis

"It's the first time we've been in Europe for more than 30 years. I want to enjoy it, I want the supporters to enjoy it, I want everybody at the football club to enjoy it because we might not get it for a while again.

"It's the first time this football club has ever achieved this, so it's another milestone and is testimony to everything we're trying to do."

Stoke were grateful to goalkeeper Asmir Begovic for a stunning last-gasp save to keep out Andriy Yarmolenko's long-range effort.

"We had a responsibility to chase the game and try to score. All European teams are very good at counter-attacking. We got too stretched, too carried away with wanting to win the game," Pulis added.