Crystal Palace boss Tony Pulis challenges Jason Puncheon to show consistency
Jason Puncheon must be more consistent if he is to fulfil his potential, according to Crystal Palace boss Tony Pulis.
Last Updated: 12/04/14 6:37pm
The 27-year-old came in for criticism earlier in the season courtesy of an embarrassing early penalty miss as Palace went down 2-0 at Tottenham.
But he bounced back with two goals in his next three matches to help Palace to some vital victories at the end of January.
Last weekend, he scored twice in a 3-0 win at struggling Cardiff to move Palace seven points clear of the relegation places with six games to go.
Pulis, who took over from Ian Holloway as Palace boss in late November, believes Puncheon has the ability to go far in the game but needs to produce performances on a more regular basis.
"Puncheon could be anything he wanted to be," Pulis said. "Jason has the tools to be a top player but he's been very, very inconsistent over his career - good players are not that inconsistent.
"It's a lack of concentration as much as anything else. For him to be a really good player he has to do this week after week after week and we've spoken to him about that."
Puncheon is currently enjoying a rare settled spell at one club having played for nine different sides over his career, including seven loan spells.
"He's had more clubs than I've got in my golf bag hasn't he?" said Pulis.
"He's happy at the moment and we just hope and pray he continues this form until the end of the season."
Palace have won nine of Pulis' 20 games in charge - a significant improvement on the - the two victories in 12 they had claimed prior to that.
While the likes of Puncheon have taken much of the plaudits, Pulis says a strong overall team ethic is the reason behind their revival.
"Those people around the fringes have been absolutely outstanding from their attitude in training to their attitude to the team on a Saturday," added Pulis.
"We've got good characters. They're senior pros and they've helped enormously - they've certainly helped me in respect of keeping everybody together and keeping the group focused."
"After the Cardiff game everybody was in the dressing room, it was great to see and they must be hurting because they want to play.
"Their attitudes have been fantastic though and I think that's been a big, big factor in what we've done so far."
Palace go into Saturday's home match against Villa having taken 19 points from a possible 30 at Selhurst Park since Pulis took over and the manager is hoping the home fans can help them improve on that record.
"We've got great backing," he said. "The attitude towards the team and everything that's going on in this place is first class, absolutely first class, and the fans have been a big factor in what we've achieved."