Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew has claimed his side’s commitment and desire “can’t be faulted” as they prepare to search for their first win in 14 Premier League outings against West Ham United on Saturday.
Speaking in this morning’s pre-match press conference, Pardew admitted Palace have had “no momentum” in the league due to their poor form, and said his side must “grind” out a victory against the Hammers if they have any chance of surviving prior to next month’s FA Cup semi-final against Watford.
Pardew wants more goals
The Eagles have failed to win in the league since the memorable last-gasp victory at Stoke City in mid-December, and their predicament has come as a shock to the whole football world. Pardew’s side found themselves in fifth at the end of 2015, but are now languished just two places above the relegation zone – largely due to injuries and the sheer drop in form of key players.
Pardew has challenged his side to score “two or three goals in a game”, claiming that even when Palace did beat teams earlier in the season, they never “ran away with games”, apart from the 5-1 win against Pardew’s former club, Newcastle United.
Payet-inspired Hammers will be no easy task for Palace
West Ham will prove to be a tough test for Palace on Saturday; Slaven Bilic’s side are unbeaten in their last five Premier League games and are intent on making each remaining game at their famous Boleyn Ground a memorable occasion before they move into the Olympic stadium in the summer.
The Hammers won 3-1 at Selhurst Park in October, but the game swung in favour of Bilic’s side when Dwight Gayle was sent-off in the first half. Dimitri Payet’s goal sealed the victory and the Frenchman has been one of the division’s best players this season - a statement that Pardew echoed the sentiments of in his press conference earlier today, saying that “outside of the Leicester boys”, Payet has been the “best outfield player” this season.
Pardew also admitted that his side are going through another injury crisis at the moment, claiming Yohan Cabaye, Emmanuel Adebayor and Mile Jedinak all have “knocks” and might not make the game on Saturday. He also provided an update on James McArthur, saying the Scottish midfielder is “progressing” but is still “some way off” a return, following the ligament injury he suffered in January.
The latest injury news comes at a bad time for Palace as they bid to climb away from the relegation places, and they face a tough run of games that include trips to Manchester United, Arsenal and Saturday’s visit to West Ham. The Eagles have just eight games to confirm their safety, but sit just seven points away from 18th-placed Sunderland, although have a game in hand over 17th-placed Norwich City.