Stoke manager Tony Pulis has angrily dismissed reports that his job was on the line after the 2-0 defeat to Manchester United.
Pulis was said to be heading for the sack if Stoke were heavily beaten by champions-in-waiting United on Sunday.
But after being asked about the report, he hit back: “Is that the same person who wrote that the manager of Leicester was going to leave six months ago?”
Pulis was also in defiant mood about his team’s prospects of surviving – despite seeing defeat plunge Stoke to within two places and three points of the drop zone following Sunderland’s lunchtime win at Newcastle.
“We have to stay positive and focussed,” he stressed.
“What’s gone is gone. We have to look forward to the next game and the next game.
“I’ve spoken to the players and it’s a five-game season now that we have got Manchester United out of the way.
“The season really starts for us now and it’s very important we remain positive.”
Defeat left Stoke with one win in their last 14, while title-bound United have lost just once in their last 20.
Delighted United manager Alex Ferguson admitted he enjoyed the celebrations when Robin van Persie scored the second from the penalty spot at the Britannia Stadium.
Following the successful spot kick, Van Persie rushed to the bench to enjoy the moment with his team-mates and Ferguson.
“He nearly killed me, he forgets I’m 71,” Ferguson told Sky Sports.
“It was a great celebration because it brings together the emotions of the fans and players. We really did celebrate that.
“We say this about all strikers you go through spells where you don’t score and you don’t think you’re ever going to get a goal and you’re going to miss.
“It was a really important goal and there were two or three things about it. He did really good work from Wayne’s pass to get brought down for the penalty, the ball moved off the spot and then the composure to settle himself and then the perfect penalty low and hard into the corner.”
Sir Alex opted to play Wayne Rooney in a central midfield position and that move appeared to pay off with the England international a key presence in the heart of the United side throughout.
“I thought Wayne was brilliant. He needs a different role to get his confidence back,” Ferguson said.
“He’s had a bit of criticism, not a serious amount but nevertheless there’s a few doubters out there and it’s our job to get that confidence and form back and a spell in midfield will do him and us good.”