Midweek Sport - - SPORTS -

but as play­ers you want to put your­self up against the best teams in the world. Va­len­cia are cer­tainly one of those.”

Pulis has en­listed the help of for­mer Va­len­cia and Liver­pool boss Rafa Ben­itez to boost his hopes of a ma­jor up­set.

And the Stoke boss ad­mit­ted he was given a stark re­minder of the task he faces af­ter a spy­ing mis­sion at the week­end.

Pulis watched Va­len­cia crush Sport­ing Gi­jon 4-0 to stay third in La Liga be­hind Real Madrid and Barcelona.

He said: “We’ve had some great re­sults in Europe this sea­son but this op­po­si­tion is a step up from what we’ve faced so far.

“They have got play­ers from Brazil, Italy and Ar­gentina. They are tech­ni­cally very good, well drilled and pow­er­ful.

“They are a Cham­pi­ons League team, re­ally, and the third best team in Spain, but are not too far be­hind Barcelona and Madrid.

“These two ties will be tough but we are all look­ing for­ward to this chal­lenge.

“It’s the first time our club has gone this far and I know our fans will be up for it. It’s a moun­tain we have to climb but we still be­lieve we’ve got a good chance.”

Pulis wel­comes back Robert Huth as his three-match ban only counts in the Premier League.

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