Tony Pulis has been confirmed as the new manager of Crystal Palace FC, replacing Ian Holloway who left the club by mutual consent in October.
At a packed press conference attended by EastLondonLines, Pulis told reporters that despite this being his first London Club, he was “just pleased to be at Palace, if Palace was in the North East I’d be here.”
But he added: “London is one of my favourite cities.”
Pulis watched from the stands as caretaker manager Keith Millen took charge for the final time against Hull City on Saturday as Palace won one-nil, recording only their second victory of the season.
Pulis said of the squad he has inherited: “I’m really pleased with the attitude and commitment of the players, I thought they did really well on Saturday. When you think that we had a player sent off, and we still went on and won the game was a testament to the commitment the players showed, especially in a game away from home.
“Do I think we can stay up? I wouldn’t be here now talking if a I didn’t think and believe that this football club could stay up.”
Pulis provided some anecdotal clues as to what he may have been up to since leaving Stoke in May.
He said: “I like to read history… about people who’ve come from nothing and then become fantastic leaders. Churchill was a great leader but he was part of the establishment and I like to read about people who weren’t part of the establishment – like Napoleon who came from a small island and then became one of the great conquerors of Europe.”
Former Palace boss, Holloway, left the club on October 23 after less than a year in charge having guided the Eagles into the Premier League via the Play-offs with a 1-0 victory over Watford last May.
Despite seemingly protracted negotiations, and numerous names being linked with the job, Palace Chairman Steve Parish claimed talks with Pulis had been straightforward.
He said: “The contract was easy. I don’t know where people get this stuff from, I really don’t. Some of it is accurate, but I don’t know whether this is just people throwing darts at a dartboard – sometimes they guess right.
“We saw people that nobody knows we saw, we didn’t see people that people claim we saw… The main thing for me was that we got the right person.”
Parish continued: “I took my time, looked around, and I think I came up with the right decision – time will tell, but it feels very positive right now.”
But not all Palace fans will be happy with Pulis’ appointment, with concerns about the direct style of play he employed in his previous job at Stoke City.
Pulis countered questions about whether he’ll transform Palace into a “long-ball team”, as he said: “I personally don’t think we were that at Stoke… The problem is initially when you’re starting out, you play in a way that you think will make you successful, and then you build from there.”
Pulis’ first match in charge comes away to Norwich City on Saturday.