Pulis: Puncheon not paid to sulk

Crystal Palace will not beat the Barclays Premier League drop with players sulking over missed penalties, according to Tony Pulis.

Jason Puncheon of Crystal Palace takes a throw on during the Barclays Premier

Taskmaster Palace boss Pulis refused to put a protective arm round Jason Puncheon in the wake of his horror-show penalty miss in 2-0 defeat at Tottenham on January 11.

Pulis told the on-loan Southampton forward to put the Twitter spats aside and get on with his job, and the 27-year-old responded in perfect fashion with the winning goal in Saturday's 1-0 victory over Stoke.

Puncheon launched a volley of tweets at Neil Warnock after the former Palace boss admitted he would never back him for spot-kick duty.

Pulis moved to calm the argument by then confirming Puncheon will retain penalty responsibility with the Eagles.

Relieved Puncheon's latest riposte came via the football field, Pulis said: "He's pleased, he's taken a bit of criticism, but he's a professional footballer, and he gets paid very, very well: and he gets paid not to sulk."

Challenging the Saints loanee to focus on Palace's drop-zone escape act, Pulis said he expects more measured responses to the sport's natural highs and lows in future.

Asked if Puncheon's goal was the best response to the week's controversy, Pulis said: "Of course it is, like I said to him afterwards, this is the way football is, you get good times and bad times.

"It's dealing with both in the same way, and being focused on what we're trying to achieve, and that is trying to stay up.

"There's no vindication (in selecting Puncheon), not at all, I think he's a good player so he's in the team."

Conscious he acts as a throwback amid modern football's excesses, Pulis remains adamant it will be character and grit that will determine whether Palace avoid relegation.

Saturday's victory over Pulis' former club Stoke, two days after the Palace boss turned 56, lifted the Eagles off the foot of the table and out of the relegation zone.

Captain Mile Jedinak provided the perfect screen for Palace's solid back four as Pulis' trademark regimented set-up paid dividends against Stoke.

While Pulis is still seeking new recruits in the January transfer window, especially up front, he conceded solidity remains paramount.

"We've got good people in the dressing room," he said.

"You're talking about a person who was brought up in the 70s when it was real leaders and real men.

"It's a different era now.

"Mile's a good player but he's also a good lad, he has fantastic qualities as a human being.

"We understand that the most difficult thing in football is getting strikers who will score goals week-in week-out.

"And if you do get them they cost you a lot of money.

"So we need to make sure we're nice and tight but that we are a threat on the break, and I thought we were again.

"I was disappointed in the first half because I thought we had four or five great opportunities to really get in amongst them and create chances, and we gave the ball away or made wrong decisions.

"And in the second half but for Butland's wonderful succession of saves, we could have scored two or three goals."



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