Pulis hails Ledley's Eagles impact
Published 06/04/2014 | 14:37
Tony Pulis has hailed the influence of Wales international Joe Ledley on Crystal Palace's remarkable Barclays Premier League resurgence.
Ledley, a January transfer deadline day signing from Celtic, scored Palace's second goal in a 3-0 victory over his former club Cardiff.
The 27-year-old, who was born in Cardiff and made more than 200 appearances for them before heading to Glasgow, played an instrumental role as Palace moved seven points clear of relegation trouble.
Ledley also set up the first of Jason Puncheon's two goals at Cardiff City Stadium, and Palace boss Pulis said: "I thought Ledley was fantastic.
"He has brought a little bit of class, he has got a fantastic attitude, his work-rate suits what I want as a manager and his ability is absolutely first-class.
"It was great passing. The first pass he passed it through the eye of a needle for 'Punch' to get hold of it."
Palace were bottom of the league and red-hot relegation favourites when Welshman Pulis arrived at the club last November, but he has masterminded their climb to 14th place in odds-defying fashion.
"Right from the terraces the crowd have picked it up and they've been wonderful, especially the home games which we need to win and we need to pick points up," Pulis added.
"The players have responded to it and it is almost like we have started a little fire and it has just got bigger and bigger.
"But as I've said, I am very, very conscious that we haven't got to that stage yet where we can say we've stayed up. We still have a lot of work to do.
"We've got six games to go to get the points that we need. We are still not safe, we still need points, so next Saturday's game against Aston Villa is a massive game for us."
Cardiff, meanwhile, look set for a quickfire return to the Championship, having dropped to 19th place, six points adrift of safety with just five games left.
Three of those fixtures are away from home against Southampton, Sunderland and Newcastle, with Stoke and Chelsea their remaining Cardiff City Stadium visitors.
"If you produce a miracle - that sometimes happens in football - you are still capable of getting out of this and staying in the Barclays Premier League," Cardiff manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said.
"I am full of fight. It has been a tough season for everyone involved with the club. In the second half it showed a little bit that it has taken its toll.
"There was a lack of belief a little bit towards the end. We ran out of ideas.
"Players are desperate to perform. I have seen them all week, and you are so disappointed for them and the fans that we produced a performance like we did."
A frustrating afternoon for Cardiff was underlined through their Manchester United loan signing and former Palace favourite Wilfried Zaha being booed when Solskjaer took him off early in the second-half.
"You never want to take players off," Solskjaer added. "I felt for Wilf, especially first-half, he had some chances and he was really positive.
"Wilf is a strong character. It must have been a difficult game for him, of course. It was his old club that he played against, but he was professional, he did his best and I cannot fault him for his effort at all.
"I have to say Palace are a fantastically well-organised team and hard to break down, and we just did not have the quality and ideas to break them down.
"We've got to produce one (a miracle) to stay up. I am full of fight. I have been here three months, I have got more energy and fight in me than ever.
"Things like this give me more fight. Things will have to happen, things will have to change.
"They are professional footballers, and they have got to realise they have still got something to fight for. If you do produce a miracle against Southampton, suddenly you might be back in with a chance."