Pulis praises Fuller response
Stoke manager Tony Pulis believes that Ricardo Fuller has returned a better player in 2009.
By Rob Carragher
Last Updated: 01/05/09 1:38pm
Stoke City manager Tony Pulis believes that Ricardo Fuller has returned a better player since his clash with captain Andy Griffin at the turn of the year.
Fuller came under intense criticism from the Potters faithful after he swung an arm at Griffin during the away fixture with West Ham, earning himself a straight red card in the process.
Many fans were so disgusted by his behaviour that they demanded to see the Jamaican shipped off in the January transfer window, but Pulis stood by his leading goalscorer and the manager believes that Fuller has since performed better than ever.
"What he did that day was wrong and it's something I never want to happen again. But everybody makes mistakes in life and Ric has been smashing afterwards," Pulis told The Sentinel.
"He apologised to the players and has since worked as hard for this football club as he ever has. Ric is happy at the moment and that's what you want from Ricardo.
"He can be a difficult person to manage at times because he's so unpredictable, but underneath all that bravado he's a top, top person and I have a great relationship with him.
"Sometimes you don't even think he's on this planet, but that's Ric. It's his culture and he's a maverick.
"He can be a bit moody. Sometimes he's looking at you, but isn't really there. Then he goes on to the football field and you don't really know what you're going to get, but when he does perform he's as good as anybody outside the top three or four clubs."
Doubts were also raised over the ability of Fuller and Griffin to play alongside each other in the aftermath of the incident, but the Jamaican himself insists that it was quickly forgotten by both players.
"We were fine from the Monday after the game," the striker said.
"Things happen because everyone wants to win. Tempers are going to flare and there will be passion in it, but it is about what happens after that.
"You get back together as a team and we have done that. Me and Griff have no problems whatsoever now."