The turnaround in our fortunes since Tony Pulis took over has been nothing short of spectacular, but in looking forward to next season, the Welshman has warned that we will once again be favourites for the drop.
Of course, our form since November has seen us pull away from the bottom three in dramatic fashion, but there is a desire from Pulis to not allow the club rest on their laurels as a collective entity, with a plan for long-term growth, akin to what he achieved at Stoke, clearly at the forefront of his thoughts.
The three clubs that come up – plus ourselves – will again be the favourites to get relegated.
“People have truthfully got to keep their feet on the ground. This year has been unbelievable – a remarkable achievement.
“But you’ve got to do it again and again and again.
“You mustn’t take your foot off the pedal and get complacent expecting more and more. That’s what other clubs do and get in trouble.”
With many trumpeting him for the Manager of the Year award ahead of Brendan Rodgers, it would seem unlikely that we would be in immediate danger of relegation next season, and in truth, we are likely to kick on once again next term, but Pulis’ sentiments refer to an in-built desire for improvement, not just on the pitch but throughout the entire club.
He has already spoken about the changes that must be made to the training ground and stadium in the summer, alongside a reinforcement to the playing staff, and having proven to the owners that he most certainly has what it takes to help us progress, he will undoubtedly be backed financially, should he ask for extra funds.
Whilst most managers are desperate to look towards their own future with a sense of upward mobility, there is a sense that Pulis has come to terms with his own standing in the English game, pigeonholed unfairly by most, but respected by all. Perhaps unfairly, given his obvious tactical adaptability, he’s unlikely to ever be considered for a job at the top of the game, but from that perspective, their loss is very much our gain.
Having built his previous club into an established force in the Premier League, Pulis seems intent on repeating his success in South London. Given the job he’s done so far, it’s fair to say that we’re well ahead of schedule.