Dowie attacks Palace critics

Iain Dowie has hit back at critics labelling Crystal Palace the worst team in Premiership history.

The Eagles manager rounded on pundits like the BBC's Alan Hansen for suggesting that Palace are already a certainty to go down this season. Dowie's side have yet to win a Premiership match and are tipped to record the lowest points total of any club since the top flight was rebranded 12 years ago.

Tuesday night's scrappy 2-1 extra-time Carling Cup win against Hartlepool will have done nothing to appease the critics, but the Eagles manager said: "I am not worried about Alan Hansen's opinion. He was a great player for Liverpool and I enjoy listening to him, but if he wants to say that about my team then let him. It is easy to criticise isn't it?

"I am not interested. If it was Jose Mourinho [of Chelsea] or Arsène Wenger [of Arsenal] or Alex Ferguson [of Manchester United], people who understand the management game, then fine.

"I think Alan's one of my favourite pundits, and I like his comments, so I am disappointed, but he has to be controversial. I am aware of that. Let him make his comments.

"People have made the point that the three promoted teams are at the bottom and the League table doesn't tell lies.

"That's the order we finished last year in the championship when we came up. But West Brom and Norwich had sizeable investments and we didn't really."

Dowie's hands were tied in the transfer market by his thrifty chairman, Simon Jordan, so Palace invested in a host of bargain buys after winning promotion.

But so far it has not worked, with the Eagles three points adrift at the foot of the table and desperate to end a run of five successive Premiership defeats at Aston Villa on Saturday.

Yet Dowie refuses to let the pressure unsettle him, and insists Palace's poor start to the season is not affecting him.

He said: "Working with young players and watching them improve helps keep your spirits up and so does going home to the family. I am doing the job I love.

"We will carry on and I will try and get better every day. I want to be as good as I can at what I do, whether that's as a road sweeper or as a Premiership manager. That's my nature.

"Is it hard to take? Does it make you sick to your stomach? Of course. I am bitterly disappointed at times and the lads are aware of that.

"But I can't look back, I can't change yesterday. But if I can be the best at what I am doing today then tomorrow might take care of itself."

Dougie Freedman insists there can still be a bright future for him at Selhurst Park after marking reaching 250 appearances for the club against Hartlepool with a string of frustrating misses. Although he scored a face-saving equaliser he failed to stake a real claim for regular first-team football because of poor finishing. Yet he said: "I am determined to play in the Premiership and score goals."

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