Alan Pardew admits mistakes during Palace's poor run
Alan Pardew has conceded he made mistakes during the damaging run that threatened to ruin Crystal Palace's season.
A promising start to their campaign took Palace into contention for European football before a failure to win in the Premier League after December 19 at Stoke until their 1-0 home defeat of Norwich on April 9 left them at risk of relegation to the Championship.
Having overseen six consecutive home defeats during that run, before which he was widely being spoken of as a future England manager, Pardew came under increasing pressure.
He maintains injuries to key players such as Yannick Bolasie undermined him, but a team meeting before their 2-2 draw at West Ham appears to have been the turning point that has since led to improved performances and the vital victory that has likely secured their Premier League status.
On Wednesday, Pardew's team visit Manchester United before on Sunday heading to Wembley to face Watford in the semi-finals of the FA Cup. He hopes to have a near fully fit squad for Sunday's crucial fixture, and is confident Palace are again progressing.
"You can't manage at this level if you're not going to sometimes say to the players 'I got it wrong', on occasion, and I have done that many a time in my career, and I have this year," said Pardew, who is without the injured Bolasie, Joe Ledley, Scott Dann and Joel Ward for Wednesday's fixture but expects each to return on Sunday.
"(It's) 'maybe that gameplan was wrong, maybe with hindsight I shouldn't have gone down that road'. You can't just criticise the players who couldn't deliver the gameplan, sometimes they deliver the gameplan and the gameplan didn't work. Well then who's the finger pointing at?
"So then you have to be honest with your staff as well, and I've got a good honest staff here.
"After the Liverpool game when they went down to 10 men and I put on three substitutes and we looked worse, then I have to look at myself: 'Hold on a minute what happened there?'
"I have to take some blame for that for sure.
"I am not going to sit here after the run we have had and say that there were not faults on my part, as of course there was."
Another first-team regular to be absent for some of that run was James McArthur, who will return against United at Old Trafford.
It was feared an ankle ligaments injury suffered in February would end the midfielder's season, but he has made a swift recovery, and Pardew, 54, said: "I have used (the Cup) as a bit of a carrot, a couple of sneaky chats with him that the semi-final is around the corner, and he is the only player in our group who has won it.
"The reason he has come back early is not because he has a miracle cure (though), it is because he has done to the letter and more everything we have asked from him to do.
"When I look at some players I manage some of their injuries take longer and I say sometimes 'You need to look at yourself in the way that you have dealt with your rehab, we have had to ask you, get you in, do it again, you didn't turn up for pre-warm up'.
"Macca is one who has helped his own course and the only reason he is back early is nothing to do with me giving him a carrot, or the doctor, it is himself and he deserves great credit for that. He could be significant come Sunday."