Crystal Palace boss Alan Pardew is the latest to feature in our Manager Files as we look at the tactics, mannerisms, demeanour and touchline antics of the game’s top bosses.
Sharp suit, navy jumper and dark tie. Pardew looked smart enough on the touchline but the look was far more science teacher than sex symbol on Saturday evening.
For a man of 55 ‘Pards’ still looks lithe and fit and it’s not difficult to imagine him still putting the hard yards in at the gym in a pair of figure hugging shorts. Indeed I once spent a bizarre 20 minutes in a gym with him at a swanky hotel in Cyprus circa 2005 and can vouch that his exercise routine back in the day was nothing short of rigorous.
Pardew made a bold move pre-match by leaving Andros Townsend – one of the Eagles’ star turns this season – on the bench for the televised visit of Liverpool. Pardew likes a 4-2-3-1 formation but has also been known to go 4-4-2 or 4-3-3. Put simply, it it doesn’t involve four defenders he’s not interested.
Palace’s tactics on the day were clear and it took less than three minutes to send in the first long ball to Christian Benteke, via Wilfried Zaha. However the Eagles were reduced to bit part players for much of the first half, relying on counter attacking morsels as they struggled to cope with Liverpool’s brilliant high pressing fluidity. It got better in the second period when Palace had a real go but on reflection he can have few complaints about losing this one.
It was a high octane game virtually from the first whistle and while Pardew clearly enjoyed both of James McArthur’s headed equalisers from the touchline in a frenzied first 45 minutes he was less enamoured with the display of referee Andre Marriner who waved away various penalty appeals for his side in the second stanza.
Pardew kept a lid on things however and has obviously learned from conducting notoriously premature celebrations following ‘THAT’ dance during last season’s FA Cup final against Manchester United.
What they said
Pardew was fairly gracious in defeat but clearly not impressed by his side’s defensive efforts on the day.
“It was a bit too open for us against a side as good as they were. They kept wriggling out of situations with some brilliant technical play at times but we didn’t start as I would have liked,” Pardew said.
And on that breathless opening 45 minutes the former Newcastle boss bemoaned: “It was a very difficult half for us but to concede two set plays is unusual for us, and that’s something we need to address.”
The Eagles supremo was left seething after being denied two penalties against Liverpool by Marriner, who oversaw the fixture between the teams last season and awarded Liverpool a spot kick. Pardew questioned how referee chief Mike Reilly could possibly book Marriner for this gig after he contentiously awarded Liverpool a penno in the same fixture last year.
“Some decisions went against us,” raged Pardew. “I don’t think Andre Marriner should have reffed the game. He gave the penalty last year and I don’t know how Reilly has given him the game.
“Last season Benteke wins a penalty for Liverpool against us. It’s frustrating, but why create that pressure on Marriner and us because of last year’s decision?”
Pardew perhaps has a point but surely he should have made his concerns known before the game because outbursts like that following a defeat could be construed as sour grapes.
Pardew may have lost the battle on Saturday but a glance at the Premier League table suggests the war is being won. Palace are 12th after 10 matches and in a results business his job looks safe for the time being.
He’s a 20/1 shot to be the next Premier League manager to leave his post and at time of writing will be sleeping much more soundly then contemporaries such as David Moyes or Mike Phelan.
By Derek Bilton