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Pulis Relishing Palace Opportunity

25 November 2013

Tony Pulis took his first press conference since taking over as Crystal Palace manager and insisted: “this is a job I will relish.”

The Welshman has signed a two-and-a-half year deal in SE25 and takes charge of the Eagles with the club sitting 19th in the Premier League table, ahead of a key run of fixtures throughout December. 

And the former Stoke City boss is under new illusions as to the size of the task ahead of him in south London. 

When asked by reporters why he chose to come to Palace, Pulis, 55, said: “Why not? It’s a club in the Premier League, it’s a smashing club, it’s got great history. It’s going to be a tough job, I know it’s going to be a tough job. I’ve not come into this football club with any illusions.

“But looking at what has happened over the past few years at this football club, it’s been a remarkable turnaround. The board of directors and the chairman have got to be really applauded for not only looking after the club financially, but then pushing it on.

“To get in the Premier League after only a few years is remarkable. So it’s an opportunity and a chance to try and achieve something that Palace haven’t achieved yet and that is to get promoted into the Premier League and then stay there.

“I’m still very, very ambitious. I like climbing hills and this is going to be a tough job, but one that I’ll relish.”

Pulis confirmed that Keith Millen, who has taken caretaker charge of the last four matches, would be retained as a member of his backroom staff, but revealed that he may want to bring “two or three more” into the club.

He also said there is room for him to “wheel and deal” in the January transfer window to add to the playing squad as well. 

And he disputed his reputation within the footballing world as a “fire-fighter” having never been relegated in his 21-year managerial career, pointing to his impressive record at Stoke City – a club he took from the Championship into the Premier League and later, the Europa League.  

“What people don’t talk about in that record is that I’ve been promoted out of every division in English football, I’ve been to an FA Cup Final and taken Stoke to Europe,” Pulis said. 

“Everybody talks about me being a fire-fighter but I’ve also been very successful if you turn it around the other way. 

“It annoys me at times that in this country you do get pigeon-holed for certain things. My record is there for everyone to see, everyone talks about not being relegated instead of the fact that as a manager, I’ve got a few promotions and been pretty successful given the opportunity.”

Pulis’ last win as a Premier League boss coincidentally came against Norwich City, who Palace face on Saturday in the new gaffer’s first game in charge.   

Talking about the trip to Carrow Road, Pulis said: “It’s going to be tough. Every game in the Premier League is tough. That’s why it was such a fantastic result at Hull. It’s very difficult to get away wins in this league.

“I’ve got great respect for Chris Hughton and I’ve got great respect for Norwich as a football club. We know how tough it will be.”

The ONLY place to watch Tony Pulis' first press conference as Palace manager in full, plus an exclusive interview beforehand, is on Palace Player. To sign up or log-in to Palace Player, CLICK HERE.

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