Tony Pulis has credited his players for helping him to steer Crystal Palace to the cusp of Premier League survival.
Palace lost nine of their opening 10 games of the season, but they have won nine of Pulis’ 21 matches in charge.
Saturday’s 1-0 win at home to Aston Villa, which was clinched by Jason Puncheon’s 76th-minute strike, lifted Palace to 12th, seven points clear of the relegation zone.
And Pulis has hailed the attitude of his squad and their efforts to ensure they do not return to the Championship at the first time of asking.
“We had three points out of a possible 30 (at the start of the season),” said the Welshman. “It’s been really encouraging.
“You’ve got to give credit to the players. You can come in as a manager and put a philosophy into a football club, but if the players don’t agree with it, or take to it, it can cost you your job.
“These lot have really, really enjoyed it I think. They’ve enjoyed the work.”
Pulis was pleased with Palace’s performance against Villa, and believes all his players deserve praise for the victory, not just Puncheon, who has now scored three in his last two games.
“It was a fantastic result,” he added.
“I thought we stared slowly – the first 20 minutes was as slow as we’ve started at home. They built quite a bit of momentum without causing us too many problems.
“I don’t think Julian (Speroni) had a save to make during that period, but they had control of the game.
“From that point onwards I felt we worked our way back into the game, and the last 20 minutes of the first half I thought we were stronger.
“(In the) second half, I thought we were the better team. We hit the post, we hit the bar, and we created numerous opportunities from good wing play.
“He’s done fantastic, Punch (Puncheon), but … I think the whole group, the way they work – (when) we lose the ball, the way they work to get back into shape, the way they work to help one another … is pretty inspiring. That teamwork ethic has got us where we are.”
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