Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Dowie the Thinkerman; Palace Boss Gets It Right against 10 Men to Boost Playoff Push

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Dowie the Thinkerman; Palace Boss Gets It Right against 10 Men to Boost Playoff Push

Article excerpt

Byline: STEVE STAMMERS

IAIN DOWIE could offer Claudio Ranieri some advice about what to do when the opposition go down to 10 men.

For Chelsea's Tinkerman, read Palace Thinkerman - and Dowie proved that last night as he steered his team to a win over promotion rivals Sunderland which moved them level on points with sixth-placed West Ham.

For Dowie the prize is Premiership football through a playoff place and that scenario moved a step closer against a team that played with 10 men from the 20th minute after the dismissal of goalkeeper Mart Poom for a rash challenge on Andy Johnson which resulted in a penalty.

Johnson converted the spot-kick and, unlike Chelsea 24 hours earlier in Monaco, Dowie's team had no problem containing a team who were a man short.

Mind you, Palace have had enough practice. In their last four games, five opponents have been shown the red card.

Palace used their high-energy levels, which have been so apparent since Dowie and his respected fitness coach John Harbin assumed control at the club just before Christmas, to run Sunderland ragged.

"A lot of sweat and a lot of toil," is how Dowie described the players' fitness regime. "But there is individual work as well. No, we don't get a lot of muscle injuries and things like that but that is not luck. We do a lot of stretching and similar work. The players have responded well."

Since taking over, Dowie has transformed a club heading for the Second Division into a thriving Division One side who are now unbeaten in five matches. He said: "I am not thinking about the playoffs, not at all. I am only thinking about our next game, at Crewe on Saturday."

Dowie was quick to congratulate Norwich manager Nigel Worthington after the Canaries sealed their return to the Premiership after a nine-year exile.

Palace's victory ensures Worthington's men will finish in the top two. …

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