Tony Pulis hailed the performance of a “very good” Columbus Crew side after seeing his Crystal Palace team open their American account with a 2-2 draw in Ohio.
The Eagles’ manager admitted that the Major League Soccer outfit made his players “work really, really hard” during an entertaining clash at Crew Stadium.
But Pulis stressed that the pre-season programme of friendlies in the United States is all about building the fitness levels within his squad, rather than picking up victories.
Speaking to cpfc.co.uk after the final whistle, the gaffer said: “The result is not what we’re after. What we’re after really is players getting fit. The results business starts at the Emirates in a few weeks’ time.
“The important thing is we get the players through the games, the players get game time and their fitness improves.
“They’ve worked hard. What people don’t understand is that we’ve overloaded them. They are very tired coming into this game because of the work they’ve done before it.
“For the next week or two, we will overload them, so they will be playing at times a little bit tired. But that will get them fitter for when the season starts.”
Columbus took an early lead on the night through Adam Bedell, before goals from Glenn Murray and Jake Gray turned the game on its head for Palace.
But a late equaliser from Daniel Paladini earned the Crew a deserved share of the spoils – and the application of Gregg Berhalter’s men impressed Pulis, not for the first time.
He said of Columbus: “They were very good. I came here a couple of years ago with Stoke and they did exactly the same that day.
“They made us work really, really hard and that’s what they’ve done again today.”
The match in Ohio did come at a price though, as Jonny Williams limped off injured during the second period.
Pulis revealed that the winger had pulled up with a thigh complaint, but added that the extent of the injury was currently unknown.