Tony Pulis unveiled by Crystal Palace: I'm not just a 'firefighter', says former Stoke City manager - Premier League - Football - The Independent

Tony Pulis unveiled by Crystal Palace: I'm not just a 'firefighter', says former Stoke City manager

Pulis replaces Ian Holloway, who walked away from the job earlier this season

New Crystal Palace boss Tony Pulis has never been relegated as a manager - and he does not intend to lose that record this season as he looks to guide the Eagles to Barclays Premier League survival.

The 55-year-old ended a seven-year reign at Stoke at the end of last season and takes charge of Palace on a two-and-a-half-year deal, with the club in the bottom three of the Premier League.

He replaces Ian Holloway at the helm after Keith Millen enjoyed a brief spell as caretaker manager, collecting four points and ending his four games with a 1-0 win at Hull on Saturday.

Now Pulis, who confirmed Millen will form part of his backroom staff, has been tasked with keeping the club afloat and is ready to defy the odds at Selhurst Park.

Asked how he would feel if he could become the first manager to keep Palace in the top flight, Pulis said: "I would be absolutely delighted.

"I think everyone in football would be surprised because we have been written off and that would make it even better for us.

"When you're written off it gives you that determination and spur to push on, I would be delighted and I'm sure everyone else at this football club would be.

"I'm still very ambitious. I like climbing hills. This is going to be a tough job but one I will relish. I told the players we will be underdogs - people expect us to be relegated.

"We are under no illusions. It is going to be very tough and very difficult. What you need is a good spirit and a good squad and people who are going to believe in it, hopefully that is what we will get.

Pulis has also had spells in charge at the likes of Gillingham, Bristol City and Plymouth, but is irked by the talk of his record when it comes to fighting against the drop.

"What people don't talk about is I've been promoted out of every division and been to the final of an FA Cup," he added.

"People talk about me being a firefighter but I have also been very successful. It annoys me that in this country you get pigeon-holed for certain things - everyone talks about not being relegated but as a manager I have had a few promotions."

Pulis' appointment comes over a month after Holloway's departure in the aftermath of a 4-1 home thrashing at the hands of fellow strugglers Fulham.

Palace co-chairman Steve Parish revealed he had held discussions with Holloway that Pulis was the man for the job and also defended the length of time it took to make the appointment.

"What is the right amount of time to get it right?" he said.

"If you're hiring a manager for two to three years you need to get it right.

"We weren't expecting Ian to go so we needed to look who was available and see who was right for the club.

"Keith was doing a great job and took the squad where they wanted to be. I didn't see a desperate need to get someone in and it all worked out quite well.

"We have four points from our last two games which is a great platform for Tony.

"I don't bring people into my club after half an hour."

A trip to Norwich on Saturday will be Pulis' first task as the Welshman looks to add to the seven points accrued by Palace to date and close the gap on the likes of the Canaries, as well as London rivals West Ham and Fulham.

PA

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