Pulis not worried after admitting Palace not at their maximum in Man City loss (From This Is Local London)
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Tony Pulis not worried after admitting Crystal Palace not at their maximum in 2-0 Manchester City loss
There was a sense of expectation around SE25 today - could the least expensive Premier League squad, safe from relegation this season, cause an upset against one of the most expensive squads in any sport around the world?
The answer was a resounding no as the Eagles toiled against the Champions-elect who looked in total control throughout the 90 minutes.
“Every player had to be at their best and we hoped to catch Man City not at their best to be able to win the game today,” said Pulis.
“But half the [Palace] players have to be honest and say that they didn’t play at their maximum today - you have to realise that playing against some teams is not a level playing field.
“Look at the players they’ve got; we got beat by a side that’s the most expensive club side in sport in the world.
"For them to come here and win 2-0 today you have to take it on the chin and get on with it - the players shouldn’t worry about that too much.”
Pulis’ side went down to a fourth minute Edin Dzeko header from Yala Touré’s cross and the Ivorian turned goalscorer in the 43rd minute when he curled in from close-range and the Palace boss was in no doubt about his influence.
“Toure being fit and playing today was a real big disappointment for me,” said Pulis.
“I think he’s a wonderful player and he can do things that can cause havoc, which he showed glimpses of today. When you think he’s been out for three weeks and he’s come in and done that; it’s absolutely wonderful.”
With an air of unfamiliarity around Selhurst Park - Crystal Palace are mathematically safe from relegation from the Premier League for the first time in their history.
The squad appeared to play with less urgency than of recent weeks - understandable considering the immense effort the squad has made on their record-equalling run.
But Pulis was quick to deny the players were already thinking about their summer holidays.
“No, I think there’s a couple of reasons,” he said when asked if the performance and loss was due to his players taking their foot off the gas.
“The result before the game (Chelsea beating Liverpool 2-0) gave Man City a massive lift and conceding, what was a poor goal from our point of view, early on also.
"So not only did they have a lift off of the pitch, they had a great lift four minutes in on the pitch and that settled them down.
“We wanted them to be under pressure a little bit to give us a chance and make them a little bit nervous but it didn’t happen - it fell into place for them today.
“But what the players have done for this football club and what the club has achieved this year is fantastic.
"The supporters were absolutely wonderful again today and what they’ve all done together as a group this season has been absolutely amazing.”
Dwight Gayle, appearing for the first since February and, Tom Ince, appearing for the first time since March, both came on as substitutes and when asked about if he was considering them for the final two games of the season, at home against Liverpool and away at Fulham, Pulis was keen to talk about his obligation towards the Premier League.
“We’ll see [if they feature],” said Pulis. “I think it’s my responsibility to try and pick the strongest team and the team that has done the best.
"If I make too many changes for the Liverpool game I think that might cause some problems.
“Having said that I’ve seen the Jose (Mourinho) has made a lot of changes today at Liverpool, so maybe I’ll ring him up and ask him what is the best way to do it,” joked the Welshman.
That Liverpool game will mark the end of the season at Selhurst Park, a ground which has been transformed into somewhat of a fortress and the manager is relishing the opportunity to face another title challenger.
“It will be a game against a fantastic football club in eight days time,” said Pulis. “It is a night game and it will be a great atmosphere.
“I just hope the players are on it and we put on a real good show.”
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