Belfast Telegraph

Jason Puncheon says Crystal Palace are now comfortable playing at home

Jason Puncheon believes Crystal Palace have got over what their manager Sam Allardyce believed was their "fear" of playing at Selhurst Park.

Their worst performances this season had come in front of their home crowd, but Saturday's 1-0 win over Watford was their second there in succession.

Palace's latest victory has given them nine points from nine, and also both significant momentum and hope that they can preserve their Premier League status.

After losing crucial home fixtures against Swansea and Sunderland - the latter came after their first win under Allardyce and was one in which they were 4-0 down by half-time - they were at their greatest risk of relegation since their promotion from the Championship in 2013.

But there was much less tension there against Watford compared to matches earlier this term, and Puncheon believes Palace are once again ready to thrive at home.

"Our home form kept us in the league before when we stayed up in a similar challenge towards the end of the season and we have always made Selhurst Park a fortress in the past," he told the club's official website.

"We went away from that for a little while although now we are getting back to it and in this game we saw another example of how important the home atmosphere can be.

"Everything is coming to fruition now; we are all working really hard and we have a plan to work to and showing our ability and determination that we are known for.

"It was a scrappy first half but I thought we would always have the upper hand because of the quality we have and it was important that we just had to stay in the game for that one moment and that is what happened to give us the points and deservedly so."

It was Troy Deeney's headed second-half own goal that secured Palace's victory, taking them up to 16th and within three points of their 14th-placed visitors.

Watford's manager Walter Mazzarri, however, is unconcerned that his team are at risk of going down.

"In this moment we have to think game-by-game," he said. "We have to look at the table but I'm not worried about where we are.

"The supporters have been incredible and I am mainly disappointed for them.

"We look forward to the next game and dedicating a win to them."

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