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Tony Pulis must be contender for top boss gong

Tony Pulis looks set to keep Crystal Palace in the Premier League

Tony Pulis looks set to keep Crystal Palace in the Premier League

Liverpool’s Brendan Rodgers and Everton’s Roberto Martinez will be two of the frontrunners for the Premier League Manager of the Year award.

However, there is another boss that should also be considered for the award.

Crystal Palace’s Tony Pulis has been much-maligned for the style of football his teams play, but since taking over at Palace he has been truly inspiring.

The Eagles currently sit in 14th place in the Premier League table seven points clear of 18th place Fulham with a game in-hand on the Cottagers.

Close

Palace can virtually secure their Premier League safety with a victory over Aston Villa on Saturday. An Eagles victory really would not be a surprise, as Pulis has instilled a steely determination amongst his team that has taken Palace from bottom to the verge of safety.

Palace surviving the drop would be one of the biggest surprises of the season, after the poor start the Eagles made to the campaign.

Confident

However, as soon as Tony Pulis was appointed as Crystal Palace boss I was confident that the Eagles would survive the drop. The former-Stoke boss was perfectly equipped with the managerial acumen and motivational skills to keep Palace in the top-flight.

Tony Pulis has never suffered relegation in his career and he has always seemed confident of avoiding the drop this season.

Criticised

Tony Pulis has come in for criticism throughout his career because his teams are regarded as direct and tough. The Welsh boss was constantly criticised while at Stoke, even by his own team’s fans for the team’s style of play.

However, that style of play established Stoke as a Premier League regular. No team liked to face the Potters with Pulis in charge. The Britannia Stadium became one of the toughest grounds in the top-flight for opposition teams to visit.

Pulis has created a similar sort of situation at Selhurst Park and the Eagles are now very close to securing their status as a Premier League club, completely against the odds.

Solid

Pulis’ teams may not be the most pretty to watch, but they are solid and effective. Under the former-Plymouth boss Palace have looked very hard to break down and incredibly have actually conceded less than league leaders Liverpool this season in the top-flight.

In fact, only four teams in the Premier League have conceded fewer goals than Palace this season and three of those teams are in the top-five of the league table. That superb defensive record is down to Pulis’ organisational skills.

The likes of Roberto Martinez and Brendan Rodgers may have their football philosophies, but Pulis has his own philosophy and it is equally effective when it comes to making a solid team out of a group of individuals who may not be the most talented in the league.

Pulis sets-up his teams so that hard work and staying organised can overcome teams with superior individual players, as proved in Palace’s recent 1-0 home win over title challengers Chelsea.

Shrewd

Tony Pulis has always been pretty shrewd in the transfer market and he has always had to be, because he has never really been given big transfer budgets. The experienced boss has had to gamble on some players.

Pulis did some great work in the January transfer window. The signings of midfielder Joe Ledley from Celtic and centre-back Scott Dann from Blackburn were his two biggest successes. Dann has played a big role in that good defensive record.

Ledley meanwhile has become a vital player in midfield for the Eagles. He has popped up with some vital goals and assists for his teammates since arriving at Palace and impressed in his first few months in the Premier League.

Pulis seemed to be operating a policy of buying British players in January, with the likes of Thomas Ince and Wayne Hennessy also joining the Eagles in January. The policy has paid dividends so far and helped the Eagles move away from the relegation zone.

Turnaround

When Tony Pulis arrived at the club the Eagles were in a real mess, struggling in the league and a squad list like a petition. The Welsh boss seems to have temporarily sorted the wheat from the chaff and will no doubt get rid of a number of players in the summer.

Contender

If Palace survive the drop this season then Pulis has to be up there with the Rodgers and Martinez’s for the Manager of the Year. On a relatively small budget the Welshman has revived a team that looked destined for the drop and almost certainly kept them up this season with Palace now odds of 18/1 to go down.

For all the criticism of Tony Pulis, I doubt there are many Palace fans out there who will be moaning about Palace’s style of play if they survive the drop to the Championship. Well done Tony Pulis and good luck for the rest of the season.

Should Tony Pulis be considered for Manager of the Year?

Fri 11 April, 2014
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