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Fergie told Pulis to manage Palace
Crystal Palace manager Tony Pulis has revealed Sir Alex Ferguson was a key influence in his decision to take on the job at a time when he had considerable doubts about it himself.
When Pulis was confirmed on November 23 as the successor to Ian Holloway, things were not looking promising for the Eagles, who were bottom of the Barclays Premier League with just four points from their opening 11 games of the campaign.
Now, with four more fixtures remaining, their survival appears secure after Wednesday's 3-2 win at Everton - their fourth victory in a row - took them to 11th place and 40 points, 10 clear of the relegation zone.
Asked if he had had doubts about becoming Palace boss, Pulis said after the Goodison Park triumph: "Yes - it was difficult.
"I spoke to Steve (Parish, the Palace co-chairman) about four or five times.
"I met him the one time and I didn't feel as though it was right. Then Steve wanted to have a chat again. He came down to Bournemouth and we had a good chat about it, and he convinced me that it was a challenge.
"Looking at it, everyone I had spoken to had said it was a difficult one.
"Sir Alex Ferguson and Peter Coates, my old chairman (at Stoke), were the only two who said to take it. And they were two good judges. The rest were very negative towards it.
"I hadn't seen Palace play and what they had or didn't have. But I enjoy a challenge.
"It's in my nature to stand up and try to march people forward and we've done that."
There has been talk of Pulis being a candidate for Premier League manager of the season, and asked about that, Palace defender Scott Dann said: "For me, it is a no-brainer.
"Obviously there are other managers out there - the likes of (Liverpool manager) Brendan Rodgers and (Everton boss) Roberto Martinez - who have done a great job fighting at the top.
"But I think anyone who rules out the job he has done at Crystal Palace would be silly."
While Palace's momentum continued on Wednesday, Everton saw their own top-flight winning streak come to an end after seven successive victories.
The Champions League-chasing Toffees had been looking to make the most of the opportunity to leapfrog Arsenal back into the top four, but instead remain fifth, a point behind the Gunners, with both clubs having four more games to go.
Everton's next fixture is Sunday's home clash with Manchester United and England full-back Leighton Baines - who the Red Devils tried to sign from the Merseysiders last summer - is keen to keep things in perspective ahead of that match.
Baines said: "We were on a good run of wins, and to lose one game, it doesn't take anything away from the way we have been playing. We have just got to get back on track as quickly as possible.
"We are not in control of it (the race for Champions League football) - now we are waiting for others to do us favours.
"But we have said all along it was going to be tough. It would be nice to have it in our own hands but we need to keep trying to win games and stay in there.
"We have been in great form, with the run of wins we have been on. We have not lost many games over the last few months. There is no real reason for us to feel deflated."
Meanwhile, Martinez - who has stressed he is still feeling encouraged about his side's top-four chances - said midfielder James McCarthy only featured as a substitute in Wednesday's contest due to a "muscular problem".
Martinez said: "James has been carrying some sort of muscular problem since Saturday and we didn't think he was going to make the squad.
"It would have been a big risk once he made it to play 90 minutes.
"I'm pleased he played a part because that's going to prepare him for Sunday, and he did make a big difference."