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Last Updated: Monday, 16 May, 2005, 06:28 GMT 07:28 UK
Dowie immensely proud of players
Crystal Palace boss Iain Dowie
Crystal Palace boss Iain Dowie says he was proud of his side, despite their relegation from the Premiership after a 2-2 draw with Charlton.

Palace had looked set to escape until Jonathan Fortune's late leveller.

"We played well, had lots of heart and desire and got ourselves out of a difficult situation," Dowie said.

"We looked comfortable but gave away a silly set-piece. But it's not time for recriminations. It's a time to be proud of my players who gave me everything."

Palace fell behind to a Bryan Hughes goal but fought back to lead 2-1.

But Fortune's late header denied them a win that would have secured their Premiership safety.

Dowie added: "We were disappointed with our defending but we've got to now move on.

"We have to make sure we hit the ground running and get ourselves up and sharp out the traps when the Championship season starts."

Wayne's out of contract, he's one we'd liked to keep but it might be much more difficult to do that now
Iain Dowie

Dougie Freedman had looked to have sparked the great escape when he came off the bench to score the equaliser, his first league goal of the season.

He then earned the penalty that saw Andy Johnson put Palace in front.

"I just had a feeling for Dougie and it looked like a decent substitution and then we were comfortable but gave away a silly free-kick and it's hurt us.

"But throughout the season we've played with a lot of pride and we did that. We didn't go down with a whimper and the lads can be very proud of their efforts. The players have been magnificent for me this season.

"We've got to walk out of the ground with our head held high.

"If we perform like that we'll be a real handful in the Championship next season."

Dowie refused to talk about whether he will be able to hold on to his star men for next season, with Andy Johnson and Wayne Rouledge likely to attract interest from other Premiership clubs.

"It's not the time to talk about that," he said. "Andy signed a four-year deal. Wayne's out of contract, he's one we'd liked to keep but it might be much more difficult to do that now.

"What we've got to do is reflect, take our time and not make silly statements.

"If we believe in each other and our abilities we've got a chance of rebuilding this club and that's important.

"I've learned a lot of lessons - I'll be looking at myself and what I can do better next time."

Interview: Crystal Palace boss Iain Dowie

Relegation round-up: Watch how the final day unfolded


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