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Pulis puts knowledge to good use

Published 18/04/2015

West Brom boss Tony Pulis enjoyed victory on his first return to former club Crystal Palace
West Brom boss Tony Pulis enjoyed victory on his first return to former club Crystal Palace

Tony Pulis admitted his West Brom side had used his inside knowledge of former club Crystal Palace to find a way of beating the Eagles at Selhurst Park on Saturday.

An early James Morrison header put the Baggies in a strong position and they defended well as Palace looked to hit back, wrapping up a vital 2-0 win courtesy of a Craig Gardner strike that sees Pulis' men move eight points clear of the relegation zone.

It ended a four-game winning streak for his former side as the Welshman enjoyed victory on his first return to south London since his departure on the eve of the current campaign.

With Alan Pardew's Palace squad little-changed since then, the current Eagles boss said leading up to the game that Pulis' inside information would give the Welshman a "huge advantage" - and the West Brom manager revealed his side had worked on things in training that could give them the edge.

"We worked on a couple of things in respect to what I thought Palace would do - we worked during the week on that," he said.

"We scored from a corner that we have worked on, which was really pleasing. I thought we should have had a penalty in the first half and then Gardner's strike to make it two-nil was crucial really in lots of respects.

"I thought we were resilient and defended well and in the end I thought we deserved the points."

Pulis was not mentioned by Palace chairman Steve Parish in his programme notes with tensions in their relationship believed to be at the heart of his exit - but the Palace supporters gave the 57-year-old, who won the manager of the year award last season for guiding them to 11th, and it was something Pulis appreciated.

"Obviously it is lovely coming back to a former club," he said.

"It is funny coming here, we played Stoke here last year and I had a great reception from the Stoke fans and to come here and get that today from the Palace supporters was first class.

"You never know (what kind of reaction you will get) - the fans did well for me last year and I hope I repaid them a little bit in respect to what we did in the dressing room and on the pitch.

"It is a good club. It has got unbelievable potential and I mean that. The supporters are wonderful and they have a good manager. They can push on - if Alan is given the money and the opportunity to push this club forward this club could be a good, good club."

The win may have moved West Brom eight points clear of the relegation zone but Pulis still wants to collect at least another four points before the end of the season.

"I have just spoken to them (the players), we lost to Leicester and QPR at home, and we needed a 90 minute performance and they were resolute and determined," he added.

"Their concentration levels were good on the basis that we still need the points to stay in the league. I said to them afterwards, give me 40 points - I think it has been a good season for us that is what we should be aiming for."

Pardew tasted defeat for just the fourth time in the league since taking charge at Palace and conceded his players had been caught out by Pulis' awareness of their short-comings.

"That was a weakness in our set up that Tony exploited," he said.

"It's a feather in the cap for them that set-play. It was well-worked. Their guy took (Jason) Puncheon to the edge of the box where he is not comfortable marking there.

"It's something we'll have to look at going forward. It's a good day for West Brom. We won't go away from what we do, we try to pass it, try to find a way through, try to solve problems, get crosses into box. In another game we get a goal and it's a different game.

"I couldn't fault my team, we tried everything we could but couldn't unlock them or find a way through. It's difficult to win five Premier League games in a row and today we came up short."

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