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Eagles boss admits his side second best to Bluebirds
DOUGIE Freedman conceded Cardiff’s experience and power was the main factor in the Eagles’ 2-1 home reverse to the Bluebirds in Saturday’s final game of the season.
Following January’s heartbreaking Carling Cup semi-final defeat, Palace fans had to watch on again as Cardiff fans celebrated securing the final play-off spot by coming from behind to win at Selhurst Park.
Despite the loss extending Palace’s winless run extend to nine games, the Eagles manager was pleased with his side’s first half performance and had no complaints about the result.
“When you lose a match you are always disappointed but I was very encouraged in the first half with the quality of play and the tempo that we played at,” said Freedman.
“In the end their experience, strength and power was the difference, so I cannot grumble because my players are gaining experience.
“It was a fair result, no complaints, and it tells you where we are right now.”
Palace took the lead through a well worked one-two between Wilfried Zaha and Darren Ambrose, whose inch perfect through pass allowed Zaha to tuck his low shot under the on-rushing David Marshall in the Cardiff goal.
But Cardiff responded well in the second half and after Matthew Parsons conceded a free-kick on the edge of the area, Peter Whittingham stepped home to curl in the equaliser from a tight angle.
The Bluebirds were dominating the game for most of the second period and were rewarded with their winner on 63 minutes as Don Cowie volleyed home a loose ball in the area.
Zaha, who was starting up front for the Eagles, continued to show why he is attracting interest from Premier League clubs but Freedman said it is his call as manager whether his prize asset stays at the club or not.
The Palace chief said: “I’ll make the decision.
“Wilfried’s development at this club is growing and I believe when the time is right I will let him go.
“He has five years here and if within that five years I’ve got to make a decision where a club comes in I think can enhance his development, then off he goes.
“If a club comes in offering a ridiculous amount of money that can benefit the club and go back into the team then I’ll let him go but until then I can’t make that decision.”
Freedman pointed out his biggest achievement this year has been developing the youngsters into quality Championship players, something he intends to continue next season.
He said: “When I look back I’m very proud of young players we’ve produced at this club.
“This season we have produced in Wilfried Zaha, the best player in the Championship, and next season we will do it with Jonathan Williams and the season after that with Kyle De Silva.”
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