Pulis admits joining Palace was a risk

Crystal Palace manager Tony Pulis has conceded he took a risk joining the London club when they were last in the Premier League.

Pulis took over from Ian Holloway on November 23 after a 0-0 draw at home against Everton had left Palace bottom in the table and while his new team won three of their next four matches, the former Stoke manager realised he faced a very tough task in keeping the London club in the Premier League.

Palace dropped to the bottom of the table once more in January but have steadily risen since and still have a chance of finishing in the top half with two games remaining this season.

Pulis knows that after he was sacked by Stoke - where he developed a reputation as a football 'dinosaur' - that his career may not have survived relegation.

"If you say I was being thought of as a dinosaur, then choosing the wrong next job I'd risk being extinct. That's about right," the 56-year-old Welshman told the Daily Mail.

"The thing that worried me most when I came in was that there was a resignation that we were going down. That was from the top of the club to the bottom. We had to clear out that perception.

"The thing that helped most was the supporters. Win, lose or draw they were wonderful, and we bought into that."

During his time at Stoke, Pulis was pilloried as a 'long-ball' manager with critics latching onto his team's penchant for long throws and set-pieces, which took advantage of the likes of Peter Crouch up front.

But Pulis reckons that reputation is unfair.

"People, especially in this country, are big on perception and I think you do get pigeonholed," Pulis said.

"I am not what people think I am. That doesn't worry me because I get on with my job. My view is you play to what strengths you've got, and you do the best you can with that.

"It hurt in some respects when it was over at Stoke but I am a very pragmatic person. I have been in football a long time and understand there is always stuff that will go your way and stuff that won't.

"The great thing was it was clean. There wasn't a jagged, messy affair."

As Palace prepare for a second straight Premier League season, Pulis paid tribute to the coaching staff that preceded him for putting together the kind of squad that could fight their way to safety.

"I have to give Dougie Freedman, Lennie Lawrence and Ian Holloway some credit for this...there was a group of players at the club who were real strong characters and good pros," Pulis said.

"(Julian) Speroni has been an absolute dream, (Danny) Gabbidon, (Damien) Delaney, (Mile) Jedinak, (Glenn) Murray, all real solid players. Yes, I've got rid of quite a few but I could fall back on a little group.

"Were they Premier League players? That's a different question. But they were a group that wanted to work and knuckle down and were desperate to be successful for Crystal Palace."


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