Relegation not an option for Stoke
Stoke manager Tony Pulis says it is vital his side stay in the Premier League due to the lucrative television deal set to start in 2013-14.
A bumper package worth three billion pounds for live domestic coverage has been agreed, while the rights for overseas broadcasters will bring the windfall up to in excess of five billion pounds.
Speaking to Yahoo
, Pulis admitted that the prospective increase in revenue makes survival all the more important this campaign.
"In many respects, this year has been an especially pressured season because you just do not want to miss out on that enormous windfall, and for me especially because I have such a great relationship with the Coates family, Peter, John and Denise who have put so much money into the football club," he said.
"They are wonderful people who have done a wonderful job for the people of Stoke-on-Trent, so there has been some added pressure to make sure we get over the line."
After four consecutive seasons in the top flight, not many would have the Potters down as potential relegation candidates, but Pulis is careful not to take anything for granted.
"There is still lots and lots of work to be done but we are pleased that teams and people don't think that we are going to get relegated anymore," he said.
"However, we remain very wary that you can fall flat on your face in this game. You have to stay on the front foot and you have to keep pushing forward."
Stoke have become renowned for their physical approach to the game but, while the Welshman believes his squad has improved, he sees no reason to change his philosophy.
"I think we've grown in terms of the quality of player that we have brought into the team - we don't have as many rough edges now," he explained.
"We still try and play through the pitch as quickly as we can and we still try and back it up as quickly as we can - that will never change.
"We have a certain identity, we've tried to sign players who fit that identity and we mustn't get away from that because it is an approach that has taken us so far and can take us even further."