Tony Pulis praises 'wonderful' Crystal Palace as 1-0 West Ham victory equals club record of five straight Premier League wins
Crystal Palace equalled their Premier League-era club record at Upton Park with their fifth straight win in a row, a record which has stood since 1992 - the inaugural season of the world’s richest football league - and in the process mathematically secured their place in the Premier League for next season.
Thanks to Mile Jedinak’s 59th penalty, smashed home in front of the sell-out Palace away support in east London, the Eagles now lie in 11th place with 43 points, and somewhat ironically, one place and point below Pulis’ former side Stoke City.
The Palace captain had not scored since his last minute strike against Peterborough in May last year confirmed Palace’s place in the play-offs and his emphatic penalty strike after West Ham defender Pablo Armero foolishly tripped Cameron Jerome in the box, was the very least the Eagles deserved after dominating large parts of the game.
In recent weeks Pulis has talked about the “togetherness” of his squad and this was all too evident as they rallied around for the big Aussie to step up.
“I just let them (decide),” said Pulis when asked about if it had been planned for Jedinak to take the penalty.
“Whoever is confident for me is the one, unless you’ve got a specialised penalty taker and Glenn Murray was right up (on the touchline awaiting to come on as a sub) when we got the penalty saying ‘get me on there, get me on there’ but Mile’s stepped up and thank God he did.
“Both sides will most probably scream that they could have had (more) penalties but we’re an exciting team; we’ve got great pace on the break and our two wide players were outstanding. We’ve played some really good football and could have scored three or four goals.
“(Yannick) Bolasie was the best player on the pitch for me today, but we’ve missed our best player; (Marouane) Chamakh.
"He has been wonderful for us and he really links the work we do defensively with the work we do going forward, but Joe Ledley was wonderful today with the quality on the ball he shows to slow the team down and give us time to get up the pitch.”
April has seen Palace take four wins from four games and amass over 25 per cent of their current points total - nine of which have come in the past seven days - and Pulis was quick to praise his squad’s work ethic.
“The big thing for me was the turnover,” he said.
“To play at Everton on Wednesday night and to not get back until about half-past two in the morning and then to try and get recovered and ready to go, I told them that the effort and commitment they put in today was just wonderful.
“The people who have not been in the team have been wonderful and everybody’s bought into what we’re trying to do, working very hard on the training ground - that doesn’t just happen; you have to work very, very hard.
"They have stomached a lot of weeks without having any days off and a lot of stuff which maybe would bore a lot of people.
"They’ve got results and I’m very pleased for them because they are a very good group.
“The (fans at Palace) have also bought into how much and how important they are as a group to help the players,” continued Pulis.
“When things weren’t going so well at the beginning, you went to Selhurst Park and you’d go a goal down and the supporters would still be getting behind the team - they have to take a lot of credit.”
With three games left in the Premier League this season - at home against Man City and Liverpool in front of the TV cameras and away at Fulham on the final day of the season - the Palace manager stressed that his side will not be taking their foot of the gas.
“I actually looked at the last few fixtures and the last two home games are an absolute nightmare; Man City and Liverpool. I thought we’d better be close (to staying up) at this time as I wouldn’t like to be going into those games needing points, it’s been a remarkable turnaround and everybody at the football club deserves a lot of credit.
“We’ve done absolute fantastic, but in football, if you start tapping yourself on the back someone will come up behind you and kick you up the backside.
“It’s very important that we keep our feet on the ground and approach the last three games with the same attitude and approach (as we have been).
“We know it will be tough, but we have a responsibility to the Barclays Premier League because it is the best league in the world and the most competitive without a doubt.”
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