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Millen stunned by Pulis blow


Caretaker boss Keith Millen, pictured, hailed Tony Pulis as 'a great leader'

Caretaker boss Keith Millen, pictured, hailed Tony Pulis as 'a great leader'

Caretaker boss Keith Millen, pictured, hailed Tony Pulis as 'a great leader'

Crystal Palace caretaker boss Keith Millen believes the Eagles have lost a "great leader of men" after Tony Pulis' shock departure from the club.

Pulis left Selhurst Park by mutual consent on Friday after reportedly falling out with co-chairman Steve Parish over transfers this summer.

Palace had collected just four points from 11 games when Pulis was appointed manager in November but the former Stoke boss instigated a remarkable turnaround.

The team finished 11th and 12 points clear of the drop - an achievement that saw Pulis named Premier League manager of the season three months ago.

"We've lost a great leader of a football club and of men," said Millen, who has been put in temporary charge for the team's Barclays Premier League opener against Arsenal on Saturday.

"He likes to control the club and what goes on in the club but he also controls the players.

"He's close to the players, he works them hard, he's very structured and organised, he's very single-minded.

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"He knows what he wants and the players understood that."

Pulis took training with the first-team on Thursday afternoon as normal before meeting Parish in the evening.

It was decided there that the pair's relationship was not sustainable and Millen was informed at 9pm he would take charge of the first team on Saturday.

"You can see both sides of the argument," Millen said.

"When you look at the structure of the club overall, there's been a lot of work done at Selhurst Park and at the training ground.

"We're trying to build a club that can sustain staying in the Premier League.

"It's the balance of spending money on the stadium and trying to strengthen the squad.

"Whether that's been the source of the clash I don't know but it's about getting that balance of trying to do both."

The club's technical coach David Kemp addressed the players on behalf of Pulis on Friday morning, expressing his gratitude for their hard work last season.

Millen also took temporary charge of the first team in October after Ian Holloway left and the team picked up four points from four matches while he was at the helm.

"When Ian left last time there was a sense that it might happen because the results hadn't been going well," Millen said.

"There was disappointment when Ian left but also maybe a bit of relief as well because we'd been struggling so much.

"This time, on the back of the season we had, it's shocked the players in a different way.

"They want questions answered as well on where we're going as a club now."

Former Cardiff manager Malky Mackay has been installed as the early favourite to replace Pulis while Tim Sherwood, Neil Lennon and David Moyes are also available.

Millen insists he is undecided on whether he would like to be considered but believes the appointment will be made quickly this time around.

"The beauty of when Ian left and I took over was the chairman wanted to see what was out there and he was happy with what we were doing in the meantime," Millen said.

"I don't see it taking so long this time. The timing of it means the transfer window shuts at the end of the month.

"We are looking to do more business and it's important the new manager picks those players."

He added: "I would have thought there won't be any more players coming in until someone new is appointed.

"Ever since I've been here the manager has had a big say in the players brought in and we want to get off to a good start so I think the chairman will be very proactive."

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