Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Pulis Can Revel in the Moment While Magath Is Left Looking to the Future

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Pulis Can Revel in the Moment While Magath Is Left Looking to the Future

Article excerpt

Byline: Steve Tongue

fulham 2 crystal palace 2 WHEN Fulham won 4-1 away to Crystal Palace on a Monday night in October, with Pajtim Kasami scoring one of the goals of the season, the circumstances of the return game at Craven Cottage could not have been imagined on either side.

That night Fulham sat in 14th place, yet by yesterday afternoon down by the river, they had already had more than a week to grow accustomed to the notion of returning to the Championship after 13 years.

Meanwhile the south Londoners not only avoided relegation from the Premier League for once but finished just outside the top 10 and Tony Pulis, ignoring the doomsayers who told him not to touch the Palace job a month after the Selhurst debacle and Ian Holloway's departure, has done so well that he could this evening be named Manager of the Year by his peers.

Man-management is one of his greatest strengths, illustrated in the transformation of Dwight Gayle, whose well-taken goals in the 2-2 draw gave him four in two games after his sensational contribution to last Monday's comeback against Liverpool. As Pulis put it: "When I first came to the club, he was the marquee signing. They'd spent a lot of money on him and he looked like he had the weight of the world on his shoulders. We've spent time opening him up as a person and a player and he's been brilliant."

Palace's co-chairman Steve Parish said: "Tony's a tremendously hardworking manager, who galvanised the squad, understood the league and knew how to get results in it."

Parish and his fellow board members will sit down with Pulis this week for discussions about the way forward, which it can be assumed will be more relaxed than those Fulham's Felix Magath is undertaking with owner Shahid Khan.

Khan, who was not at Craven Cottage yesterday because of his involvement in the NFL draft back in the United States, professed in his programme notes he had "complete faith" in Magath, the third Fulham manager of the season, each of whom achieved only three victories towards the miserable final points tally of 32.

That faith was more than either man has in certain unnamed Fulham players who were accused by both of lacking the required passion and commitment that might be regarded as a given for employees on Premier League wages. …

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