Sunday 25 February 2018

Alan Pardew 'strong enough' to handle heat after Palace lose thriller at Swansea

Alan Pardew's position is under further scrutiny after an amazing 5-4 loss at Swansea
Alan Pardew's position is under further scrutiny after an amazing 5-4 loss at Swansea

Alan Pardew is confident he can turn things around at Crystal Palace despite suffering a sixth straight Premier League defeat in incredible circumstances at Swansea.

Palace lost 5-4 after substitute Fernando Llorente scored twice in stoppage time - Swansea having earlier let slip a 3-1 lead by conceding three times between the 75th and 84th minutes.

It was a crushing loss for the Eagles, who have failed to keep a clean sheet for 18 games, and now are only outside the relegation zone on goal difference.

Asked if he still had the backing of the board, Pardew said: "It's not my decision, but as a football manager you've got to try and address the problems and deal with it.

"I'm certainly strong enough. I've been here before so I know how it works and in terms of myself and my team.

"I have a good team and will be back in on Monday working towards Southampton (next Saturday).

"The goals we've conceded don't reflect well on us. But I will reflect on this game and try and correct it for the next one.

"We've had six defeats and a couple of them - at Burnley and now at Swansea - we shouldn't have had. That's what has put us in this mess, and we need to get ourselves out of it."

Palace looked dead and buried when Gylfi Sigurdsson's stunning free-kick strike and a Leroy Fer double midway through the second half overturned Wilfried Zaha's 19th-minute effort.

But a Jack Cork own goal sandwiched in between close-range efforts from James Tomkins and Christian Benteke put Palace in front, before Llorente came off the bench to become Swansea's saviour.

"I'm just so disappointed because my players gave everything in terms of commitment," Pardew said. "But we can't concede goals like that at this level and it's something we need to address quickly.

"I thought we were in control of the game, but the last 20 minutes was the craziest I've ever seen.

"At 4-3, I'm afraid that's not good enough. We've got to see it out. I can't defend my defenders. We've got to be better than that.

"The group understand that we have options - we can change the team around. We need to get a victory quickly."

Swansea boss Bob Bradley was on the other end of the emotional rollercoaster as he celebrated his first triumph at the sixth attempt.

Bradley admitted he wanted to "kill" some of his players after his side had appeared to let their first win since the opening day of the season slip through their grasp.

Victory also moved Swansea off the bottom of the table at Sunderland's expense, and Bradley said: "I have been on both sides of games like that, so I understand how Palace feel.

"As far as we are concerned, it was a huge victory and one which the group thoroughly deserves.

"However, when I see the deflection off Jack Cork's head, there is a moment when you think we just need some luck to turn things around.

"In the end the character of the players shone through and I am very happy for them.

"It has been a difficult season and a lot of things have not bounced the right way.

"But we still show up every day with a great mentality and I couldn't be happier for that group."

Swansea are now two points from safety and Bradley added: "I see the win as a turning point in so many ways.

"Sometimes you feel like you need something crazy and maybe (this game) can be that moment.

"Having said that, we cannot take the good part without looking a little deeper. After all, you won't win matches like that every day."

Press Association

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