Tony Pulis believes Wayne Rooney's surprise decision to sign a new contract will give Manchester United "a hell of a lift" ahead of their visit to the Britannia Stadium on Sunday and could be the turning point that leads to the Premier League title returning to Old Trafford.

"This will get everyone's feet on the ground again at Old Trafford," the Stoke manager said. "It could be one of those key turning points which decides the season. There is always a turning point, whether it is a good one or a bad one, and this could be the one for United. If they end up winning the title this season, this could be the moment they all look back on in May and realise that was where it changed."

Earlier in the week, Pulis could have been forgiven for thinking his players might be able to capitalise on the storm surrounding Rooney's future and take points off United for the first time in the Premier League. But the Welshman admitted the announcement that the striker has signed a five-year deal has completely changed the complexion of Sunday's game. "It is not good for us, obviously," he said. "Everyone at United will now be able to focus and it won't do them any harm at all at a time when they looked like they needed a lift."

Pulis said Rooney's dramatic volte-face at the end of a remarkable week at Old Trafford is another example of why Sir Alex Ferguson is so well regarded. "You have to give credit to Sir Alex. He has absolutely pulled this one out of the fire," he said.