Newly- appointed Crystal Palace manager, Alan Pardew, today said he will “fight” to keep his side in the Premier League and hopes to “enthuse” fans in doing so.
In his first press conference as Eagles manager, at Selhurst park this afternoon, Pardew said: “I think this challenge will bring the best out of me. I’m a fighter; I want to fight for the team. I want to prove I’m a good manager.”
Palace currently lie in 18th position, one point from safety, and have not won a league fixture since the famous 3-1 victory over Liverpool back in November.
Pardew believes the team need 23 points from their remaining 18 games if they are to guarantee Premier League survival for a second season. He said: “40 points is your mark. There’s an inner feeling amongst the players that they can do it. We need the belief.”
But Pardew is well aware of the standard of opposition his side will have to face in order to maintain their place in the league.
He said: “You’re trying to get results against teams that can dominate possession. We have to strike a balance between being effective and keeping hold of the ball.”
He remained optimistic, however, that his style of play could still excite the Holmesdale faithful. He said: “We’re going to see a couple of differences in our style of play that will enthuse the crowd. My hope is we start fast and start well.”
Pardew returns to the club with fond memories after making 128 appearances for the Eagles as a player and is best-remembered for scoring the last-minute winner in the 1990 FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool.
He said: “I’d like to think I’m coming back as a better manager than I was as a player. It’s a stadium that has a special feeling for me…From day one here, I will have 99 per cent of the support in the stadium, but it won’t last long unless I start winning games.”
On the possibility of bringing new players to the club he said: “Steve Parish [Crystal Palace chairman] has given me the assurances he will give me the funds to bring in new players.” But he maintained it was “very complicated to try and secure a player in the Premier League… particularly a striker.”
One problem facing Pardew is the absence of captain Mile Jedinak and star winger Yannick Bolasie, due to their involvements in the AFC Asian Cup and African Cup of Nations tournaments respectively.
He said: “Jedi and Yala are two fabulous players and we’re going to miss them. We need a game plan without them.”
Pardew also believes that, in spite of recent speculation regarding Bolasie’s future at Palace, the Congolese flyer will remain at the club. He said: “You can never say never, but it would take an extraordinary bid to take Yala away from us at the moment.”