Belfast Telegraph

Palace powered up by Pardew's strong words after poor run

Tottenham 0-1 Crystal Palace

By Declan Warrington

Alan Pardew revealed a frank discussion with his Crystal Palace team provided the catalyst for their 1-0 FA Cup fifth-round victory at Tottenham.

A close-range strike on the stroke of half-time from the recalled Martin Kelly secured progress to the quarter-finals where Palace will visit Championship side Reading.

Having taken his team to Spain for a training camp and adopted an unfamiliar 4-4-2 formation, Palace's preparations were vastly different to normal.

But manager Pardew believes it was not their surroundings but the collective will to build on Palace's early-season form which inspired the win at White Hart Lane.

"It was important and the timing of it was good because with the league form, we needed to sit ourselves down and go, 'It ain't been that bad. Let's kick on now with these final 12, 13 games that we've got left'," Pardew said.

"The guys showed (that). We were resilient. We defended well, which you have to do at Spurs. We broke well and the second half, if I'm honest, I was surprised that we handled that so well. We really did well in the second half.

"I said to the players in the changing room, 'You won't know the effects and the impact the FA Cup has until you reach the quarter-finals, the semi-final and the final. Then you understand this competition and the romance of it'."

Pardew was an FA Cup finalist as a player with the Eagles in 1990, and as a boss he led West Ham to the 2006 final, where they lost a classic match to Liverpool on penalties.

He will be going back to another of his former clubs in the quarter-finals, having managed Reading from 1999 to 2003.

Defeat means Tottenham and manager Mauricio Pochettino can concentrate on pursuing both the Premier League title and the Europa League.

Yet Pochettino insisted their reduced schedule came as no relief and encouraged his team to concentrate on their remaining competitions.

"We feel very disappointed because it was a competition that was very exciting for us to go far but we are in a very tough period and every game seems like a final," the Argentinian said.

"We need to be ready for Thursday as we have another 'final' (against Fiorentina in the Europa League). The next game is the most important now.

"Dele (Alli) played well even though opponents tried to provoke him but there is nothing to complain about. We had good chances to win.

"Against Fiorentina we ran seven kilometres more. And our effort was bigger than Crystal Palace's, but it is about winning or not."

Belfast Telegraph


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