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Crystal Palace assistant: My pride at managing the Eagles

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CRYSTAL Palace assistant boss Keith Millen has looked back on the last season with pride after playing his part in the Eagles' Premier League survival. After Ian Holloway resigned last October, Millen stepped up and guided Palace to four points in four matches, picking up a draw against Everton and a win at Hull City in particular. And the Croydon-born man says being caretaker manager of his hometown club was "one of the highlights" of his career so far. "I think the first time I felt really proud was at Manchester United when Ian (Holloway) had his touchline ban," Millen told the Advertiser. "That was a real honour for me and a privilege, not just being in charge, but on the touchline and in the technical area at Old Trafford with Crystal Palace. "It doesn't get much better than that really. I have just really enjoyed the whole year, it's been a fantastic experience for me working with Ian, then taking charge for a month then working with Tony (Pulis) for a club I've supported. "To play some part in what we've achieved this year, it just doesn't get any better as a fan and as an employee of the club. "The fans and the staff were really supportive towards me. Everyone at the club was, and we were all on a low. We had to try and lift everyone and pick the pieces up a little bit. "That is what Tony really walked in to, a lot better frame of mind when he came in. "Being the caretaker manager was one of the highlights of my career. "When I spoke to Ian, he rung me the day before and he said to enjoy it. "I made sure I did that but of course you only really enjoy it when you get results and the team are playing well. "We managed to get a couple of results so it was a big highlight for me." Many supporters felt Millen brought a more organised approach to Palace's game against the likes of Arsenal, West Bromwich Albion, Everton and Hull City, and they did look a lot more solid at the back indeed. But the former Bristol City man insists he didn't change too much and just wanted to "get back to basics" with the squad following their poor run of form. "It wasn't a drastic change," said Millen. "I am not going to turn around and say I'm this fantastic coach in a month and that we changed. "We tried to get back to basics a little bit and we sort of said we have to start somewhere. "For me, the start was to make sure we were solid and difficult to beat, because there were times earlier in the season where we played ourselves out of games. "In the Premier League, if you go one or two goals down, it's really difficult for the smaller sides. I just felt we needed to be really solid and not play ourselves out of the games. "We worked on that to give the players some sort of belief and stepping stone, something to hold on to. We worked on that in training a lot." Having managed with Bristol City for a brief period, some may have felt Millen wouldn't have the tools to sort Palace out in the Premier League. And he says he didn't speak to anyone in the game for advice, believing his knowledge and experience would be enough to turn things around. "I didn't seek advice from anyone really," Millen added. "I felt I am pretty experience anyway, not at Premier League level but I have been in and around the game. "The good thing is I thought it wasn't like I was a new person coming in. If someone had come in and not known what we might have needed, it may have been harder for the new man. "That was a help, that I knew what the group of players respond to and what we probably needed to do. "That coincided when Tony came in and gave the lads even more belief. All of a sudden we grew a bit of momentum and you could see that in the group, even the fans." Meanwhile, Millen is now on a well-deserved holiday after a gruelling season and doesn't think there will be much transfer business done immediately either. "I went to France last weekend looking at some players which was interesting," he said. "I am now away for two weeks and will really try to switch off. "When I come back, Tony will be away doing some World Cup media coverage. I can't imagine there will be too much in the transfer market, it seems to go quite quiet when people go on holiday and especially with the World Cup on. "I think it will be pretty quiet for the next two weeks and everyone is just chilling out."

Crystal Palace assistant: My pride at managing the Eagles


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