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Puncheon backs Pulis for award

Published 13/04/2014 | 14:02

Tony Pulis has led Crystal Palace up the table
Tony Pulis has led Crystal Palace up the table

Crystal Palace match-winner Jason Puncheon believes Tony Pulis would be a worthy winner of the Barclays Premier League manager of the year award, with the Eagles now all but safe following victory over Aston Villa.

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Puncheon struck in the second half - his sixth league goal of the season - to secure a deserved 1-0 win and move Palace up to 12th in the table.

Now the former Southampton winger has joined the likes of Terry Venables and Jose Mourinho in calling for Pulis, who took over at Selhurst Park in November when the team were rock bottom, to be in contention for the biggest managerial accolade in the English game.

"I think he will definitely be up there with a chance," Puncheon said.

"If you look at the position that we were in when he came and what he's done to this team, we all have the belief that we will stay in the Premier League now."

Pulis, who has never been relegated as a manager, remains insistent that his side are still not safe from the drop despite having won their last three games, and Puncheon shares that view.

"We're not safe until it's mathematically impossible to go down," he added.

"We've just got to keep going until we reach that point. We don't get carried away. Those games are gone. We've got to go to Everton and then West Ham after that, so we've got two tough away games in the next week.

"It was a great win, just like the two we had before, but we've got to forget about that now and look forward to Everton on Wednesday."

The victory took Palace above Villa, who have now lost four games in a row since their memorable triumph over title contenders Chelsea.

The barren run means Paul Lambert's side have slid back into the battle for survival, and they now sit just four points clear of 18th-placed Fulham.

Goalkeeper Brad Guzan insists the squad are all united and are determined to overcome the latest setback.

"We all help each other," he said.

"It is not the first time we have had a bump in the road and it won't be the last. It is part of being a professional footballer.

"We have to continue to fight and we will do that. We will look to turn it around next week. Everyone at the club is desperate for a win and to end this run of defeats.

"For us as players, and as a club, we have to keep fighting and we are definitely going to do that. You have to be at it for 90 minutes and if you switch off one play can hurt you."

Southampton visit Villa Park on Saturday and Lambert will want to accrue enough points to be safe going into the final two fixtures of the season, which see his side visit Manchester City and Tottenham.

Press Association

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