Thursday 17 April 2014
Crystal Palace manager Tony Pulis heaped praise on his side after they overcame Everton in a five-goal thriller at Goodison Park that has all but guaranteed their Barclays Premier League survival. "To get to 40 points is a fantastic achievement for this group of players," he said.
Palace gave an impressive performance to record a fourth successive top-flight victory for the first time in 20 years against an in-form side seeking an eighth successive home victory to reclaim fourth place in the standings.
"I think we are safe but my first game when we went to Hull we had four points so to get to 40 points is a fantastic achievement for this group of players"
Jason Puncheon set the ball rolling with his seventh Barclays Premier League goal of the season, before Scott Dann doubled the visitors’ lead with a towering header. In an exciting match substitute Steven Naismith halved the arrears on 61 minutes only for Camerone Jerome to restore Palace's two-goal advantage. Again Everton hit back through Kevin Mirallas but Roberto Martinez's side fell narrowly short of producing the equaliser that would have taken them back up to fourth place.
The victory took the Eagles up to 40 points, fully 10 clear of the relegation zone with four matches remaining, effectively guaranteeing a second successive Barclays Premier League campaign for the first time, and Pulis was delighted with his side's display.
"It was an excellent performance from us today," said Pulis. "The only thing that was disappointing was the two goals we conceded but we played some good stuff tonight and we always thought if we could move the ball quickly we could score some goals.
"The whole basis of every team I have ever been at is to make sure we have a solid base to give us something to work on."
Pulis has instigated a remarkable transformation since taking over at the club who were bottom of the Barclays Premier League after 11 matches when he arrived at Selhurst Park on 23 November.
"I think we are safe but my first game when we went to Hull we had four points so to get to 40 points is a fantastic achievement for this group of players," said Pulis. "But we owe it to the Premier League to remain competitive until the end of the season and we want to finish the season strongly and get as many points as we can."
For Martinez the end of his side's seven-match winning streak represents a significant blow in their quest for UEFA Champions League football with his side no longer in control of their own destiny. The Spaniard insisted, however, that their second home defeat would not alter their course for a top-four place.
"I don't think Arsenal will take maximum points from their remaining games"
"The reaction is of disappointment," said Martinez. "The result is a hurtful one because of the expectation that we had and the desire that we brought into the game.
"In the first half we played with a bit of wanting to win so much that we forgot about simple basics. In the second half, it was completely different. We were positive and back to being ourselves. But in every aspect, the game played into Crystal Palace's hands; they were well organised, happy to sit behind and play on the counter and dead balls.
"I felt we were unfortunate not to get a draw after the chances we created."
With four matches left Everton trail Arsenal by a single point but boast a superior goal difference. The Toffees still have to play the two Manchester clubs in the run-in, however, with Manchester United their next visitors to Goodison Park on Sunday.
"We were on a very good run," said Martinez. "We have 12 points to play for, we are close to fourth place and we are still in a good position. I don't think Arsenal will take maximum points from their remaining games. After the weekend [dropping out of the top four] is a disappointment, but if you looked at the start of the season, it’s a magnificent position.
"The way we finished the second half gives me great optimism we can finish the season strongly."
Everton 2-3 Crystal Palace | #EVECRY | For more, visit the Matchday Page >>