Palace 'have quality to compete'

10 November 2013 06:32

Crystal Palace plan to appoint a new manager this week clinging to the hope they can still salvage their Barclays Premier League status.

Former Real Madrid defender Aitor Karanka, who was also Jose Mourinho's number two at the Bernabeu, is believed to be the frontrunner to succeed Ian Holloway, who quit last month with the Eagles rooted to the foot of the table.

The 40-year-old comes with a glowing endorsement from Mourinho, who said: "Karanka was my assistant for three years and I know him very, very well.

"I think whatever club gets him, in England or in another country, will be a lucky club."

Should Karanka get the job, he will inherit a side six points from safety and with just one win to their name this season.

But there were signs the recovery has already started after a battling goalless draw at home to top-four hopefuls Everton on Saturday ended a run of seven straight defeats.

In truth, the Eagles should have come away with all three points but Kagisho Dikgacoi, Marouane Chamakh and Jerome Thomas all missed golden opportunities to win the match.

Nevertheless caretaker manager Keith Millen, who fully expects to be relieved of the role in the coming days, insists he is leaving behind a team capable of staying up.

"I think I've left a squad of players who want to fight for this club," he said.

"There is a squad there who have enough quality to compete with five or six of the lower teams.

"The new manager coming in will have to assess them very quickly but I think there is plenty to work with."

Winger Yannick Bolasie believes the prospective new manager would have been impressed with the display against Everton.

"The spirit was there as you could see and the fans were helping us as well. They have been there whether it's been bad or good," he told Sky Sports.

"Any manager can work with our team, we've got a lot of talent and team spirit."

Everton, meanwhile, looked far from a side destined to be contending for the Champions League spots at the end of the season, although manager Roberto Martinez preferred to look at the bigger picture.

"I don't think we need to be worried," he said.

"We have lost one game in 11, so it's a good start. What we want is to get better, to get stronger and make sure we get into the final third of the competition with a great opportunity of fighting for something special."

Source: PA