Everyone’s favourite opposition manager, Alan Pardew has been talking ahead of the weekend clash between his Crystal Palace side and Norwich City and he says that Norwich won’t have it easy.
Talking at Thursday’s pre-match press conference, Pardew said: ‘The fans are up for this game and I think Norwich will find it difficult. It can be very loud and intimidating at Selhurst Park and they will have to try to deal with it.”
Palace have lost their last six home games and have failed to win a league game in this calendar year with Pardew admitting that Norwich`s recent run of form is not ideal from Palace`s point of view. “It doesn`t concern me,” he said, “but it is more difficult to play a team who`ve won two games. It could easily have been a loss [last weekend against Newcastle]. It was a tight game and I expect this one to be too. I don`t see this game as critical, but it is important. I haven`t needed to say anything to my players, they`ve said it to me by the way they`ve trained. You can see a real determination and commitment to the group.”
“Our aim is very much to get a win, our run is well-documented. That win would be something we try to create via a process of playing good football. We need a victory – and let`s hope it comes Saturday. We want our crowd rip-roaring behind us.”
The loud and enthusiastic crowd was a big part of Palace`s early season feel-good factor but the football and the mood at Selhurst Park has changed – understandably says Pardew. “It`s natural for a crowd – particularly after our start – to have expectations raised. Nevertheless, they will be nervous on Saturday and they can`t do anything anything about it. We can. We are confident, in the last two or three games we have been substantially better. We can control the outcome but we want them to create the best atmosphere possible.
“It`s a key game. For them to beat us, they will get great momentum but we don`t want that. We need to push Norwich and force them into errors. We`ve got ourselves into this situation and we can get out of it.
“The disappointment for me has been our home form. Some of our performances have been terrific but we don`t feel we have had much justice at home. A bit more luck and things would have been different. There are too many times we have come off the pitch disappointed.”
Pardew also revealed that Emmanuel Adebayor is a fitness doubt for this game but is likely to be in contention for next Wednesday’s re-arranged fixture against Everton. I would expect Dwight Gayle to be up front for the Eagles on Saturday.
Palace sit just three points, albeit with better goal difference, above Norwich and an away win on Saturday would drag them right into the relegation mix. Just three weeks ago it looked like only one team out of Norwich, Newcastle and Sunderland would survive the drop but Palace’s recent form suggests they have been in free fall since their early season surge up the table.
A rare win for Norwich at Selhurst Park would be great, although as ever, any away point is a good point in this league and as long as we don’t lose, it will be a good day at the office. As for Pardew’s assertion that the home crowd will intimidate the City players, well, we’ll be bringing some noisy fans as well.
Should be interesting.