LONDON (Reuters) - Crystal Palace caretaker manager Keith Millen said he wanted the job on a full-time basis after his resilient team made Arsenal scrap all the way before snatching a 2-1 victory on Saturday.
Palace, rocked by the surprise departure of manager Tony Pulis on Thursday by mutual consent, looked set to take an unlikely point off one of the Premier League’s title favourites until Aaron Ramsey grabbed the winner in stoppage time.
“I’d like to continue, I enjoy being in charge,” Millen told reporters after Palace lost their opening game of the season.
”Whether it’s the right time or not I’ll speak to the chairman tomorrow.
“If the chairman felt it was right for me then I would sit down and talk to him about it. I like working at this club.”
Millen also served as caretaker for a short spell last season following Ian Holloway’s exit. He distanced himself from the full-time role on that occasion, citing inexperience.
”The circumstances of last year were that we had a really poor start, winning one in 10 games,“ Millen explained. ”There was a lack of Premier League experience at the club.
“At the time I felt someone like Tony could give us that. This group of players now have that experience.”
Later on Saturday Palace co-chairman Steve Parish seemed to suggest in a BBC interview he wanted someone more experienced than Millen, who has never managed in the top-flight.
”We want to get a manager who is right for the long term,“ said Parish. ”Experience of the Premier League is very important and we would not be straying too far from someone who has that intimate knowledge of it, either as a player or as a manager.
“Hopefully Tuesday or Wednesday this week we will try and get someone in place.”
Parish said there was no friction between him and Pulis and that he had never tried to impose transfer targets on the previous manager.
”The stories about me wanting certain players and Tony not wanting certain players are just not the case,“ he explained. ”My job is to try to get the deals done for Tony or any other manager.
”There was a good transfer budget agreed. There was a lack of targets the manager felt were good enough in the window and it came to a point where he felt he could not carry on.
“I can’t have people at the football club who are not 100 percent committed to what we are trying to do so reluctantly I agreed to let him go and let him out of his contract,” said Parish.
“It is very important we have good communication and for me the communication was difficult.”
New signing Brede Hangeland headed Palace in front at The Emirates on Saturday before Laurent Koscielny nodded the home team level on the stroke of halftime.
Palace were reduced to 10 men when Jason Puncheon received a second yellow card in the 89th minute and there was still time for Wales midfielder Ramsey to clinch the points for Arsenal.
”Our attitude was right,“ said Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. ”On the fluency we can do better but that will come.
”It was very difficult for us today because of the physicality and organisation of Palace.
“We conceded from the first corner they had. After that they made it very tight, they were physically very strong and we needed to keep going,” added Wenger.
“We still lack a bit of pace in the final third to change what we build up into dangerous situations.”
Editing by Tony Jimenez and Ken Ferris