Palace caretaker manager Keith Millen said he was “proud” of his side’s performance in the 2-0 defeat to Arsenal.
An early second-half penalty from Mikel Arteta put the Gunners in front, before Wojciech Szczesny pulled off two sublime saves to deny Joel Ward and Mile Jedinak a Palace equaliser.
And with the hosts pushing for a late leveller following Arteta’s sending off, Oliver Giroud scored a header on the counter attack to seal all three points for Arsene Wenger’s table-topping team.
But despite seeing the Eagles suffer a sixth consecutive Premier League loss, Millen was full of praise for his players. He said: I enjoyed every minute of it, I really did. The last couple of days have been difficult with Ian leaving, but from a work point of view it’s been fantastic. I was very proud to be in charge today and lead the lads out and I was even prouder of the players’ performance.
“It wasn’t for me – it was about their pride and playing for the fans. I think the fans appreciated the effort and commitment the players showed today.
“I actually genuinely felt when we were 1-0 down that we would get something from the game. The penalty was a soft goal to concede after all the work we put in in the first half, but their response to going one down against a world class side made me proud and I’m just disappointed that they didn’t get something from the game, which I felt they deserved today.”
Millen took charge of the game following the departure of Ian Holloway on Wednesday, but he is adamant that he would not be interested in the job on a full-time basis.
He added: “I managed 70-80 games when I was at Bristol City so I know what comes along with management, but not at this level – and it is a big jump to this level. So no, I really enjoyed the experience and hopefully one day I’ll have another go at this level, but it was about the players today and their response to this week.
“They’ve been criticised in the press – some of the stories are completely wrong. The one about Jose Campana rowing with Ian Holloway on Monday is complete nonsense.
“Things like that are disappointing, but the players will take a lot of belief from today and there’s stuff we can build on and work on.”
And Millen gave the club a glowing reference, as co-chairmen Steve Parish and Stephen Browett begin the search for Ian Holloway’s successor.
“I think it is a great club,” Millen said. “It’s in a good financial position, and you’ve got four great owners who really want to achieve something at this club. Also you look at the group of players today and people who are interested in the job will look at that and think ‘I’ve got something to work with there.’
“If they keep going like that, they will pick up points.”
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