Ward explains how Pulis is transforming Crystal Palace
13:05 09 December 2013
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Crystal Palace are reaping the rewards of team spirit and togetherness under new manager Tony Pulis, according to defender Joel Ward.
The Eagles grabbed their second successive win on Saturday as goals from Cameron Jerome and Marouane Chamakh fired them to an impressive victory over relegation rivals Cardiff at Selhurst Park.
Palace were written off by many after a nightmare start to the campaign in which Ian Holloway resigned as manager, but their fortunes have improved considerably under Pulis.
The south Londoners have conceded just once in their last five games and are now level on points with Fulham and West Ham.
Ward believes Pulis is helping Palace build an identity and the 24-year-old is enjoying a greater focus on defensive training under the new boss.
“We’re getting a style to our play now and we’re building on that,” said Ward, who impressed against Cardiff despite having to move to left-back after an injury to Dean Moxey.
“In the last five games we’ve started to form an identity,” he continued. “We’re going out there with a bit more belief and we’re picking up points.
“We’re looking to hurt teams and to lock up and be solid. If we keep clean sheets then we can go on to hopefully win the game.”
He added: “I think it’s our desire and our will to just see games out [that has made the difference].
“There’s a togetherness in the group, we’re all working harder for each other and going that extra yard.
“That is needed at this time, especially when you’re in this kind of position in the league. You need that togetherness as a team when your backs are against the wall.
“We’re working a lot in training on how to deal with different defensive scenarios. We’re learning and becoming more of a unit.
“It was a rough start to the season,” he added. “I think our [start] was a lot harder than a lot of other teams and these are the six-pointers where you need to pick up points. We’ve done that in the last two games.”
Ward has been one of Palace’s most consistent performers this season and he has been pleased with how he’s adapted to the top flight.
“I’m delighted,” he said. “I’m just focusing on the team and the job in hand. If I can do my job then hopefully that helps the team.”
The former Portsmouth man was also delighted to see Jerome and Chamakh continue their budding partnership against Cardiff.
He said: “I’m delighted for Jerome and Cham. They put massive shifts in against Cardiff. It was great for them to get the rewards.”