Soccer-Solid Palace make caretaker boss smile


By Mark Young

LONDON, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Crystal Palace earned their first point in eight Premier League matches as they kept Everton at bay in a 0-0 draw at Selhurst Park to bring a smile to the face of caretaker manager Keith Millen before he bows out.

With the league's bottom club set to name a new manager before they travel to Hull City in two weeks time, Millen could look back on a job well done after bringing some stability to the team following Ian Holloway's departure last month.

"I will walk out with a smile on my face because we got what we deserved," Millen told reporters.

"We set ourselves up to block Everton's passing. We kept patient and on the counter we had four or five very good opportunities. I will never criticise a player for missing chances."

Promoted Palace, who have four points from 11 matches, missed three great chances with Kagisho Dikagcoi and Marouane Chamakh off target with headers as was Jerome Thomas when he tried lobbing keeper Tim Howard when clean through on goal.

"I asked them to be brave today. Today they were fighting for the cause. We were brave but we didn't have the quality in the opposition box. The clear cut chances, if you want to be critical, we have to take them," he said.

Millen's approach worked because while Everton had most of the ball they did not create much going forward with Palace's Danny Gabbidon and Damien Delaney keeping Romelu Lukaku quiet.

"Lukaku is a handful. We were strong. I was pleased with the defending," Millen said.

"We stayed on our feet and didn't give too many free kicks away. I was panicking a bit in the last minute when (Leighton) Baines lined up the free kick but we stayed big and strong."

Millen had special praise for the Palace fans who had to negotiate horrendous traffic to get to the Selhurst Park ground with the kick-off delayed by 15 minutes.

"The players respond to the fans. The atmosphere here, they enjoy being in the Premier League," he said.

Despite the club hoping to name a new manager within the next week, Millen is not packing up his belongings just yet.

"It's Hull away next. I haven't quite planned that far ahead. If nothing happens this week, I'll carry on and then the following week, we will plan for Hull." (Editing by Tony Goodson and Ken Ferris)

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