The Eagles have gone an amazing 14 games without a top-flight victory, and face relegation rivals Norwich City on Saturday in a clash Pardew describes as a “key game”.
Pardew trusts players despite horrendous form
Palace have not won a league fixture since the 2-1 victory against Stoke City in December, But Pardew remains surprisingly optimistic and maintains that the confidence among his players is high.
Speaking in this morning’s press conference, Pardew said that “it’s the players that have to perform” and his confidence in them is “resounding”.
Pardew added that his side’s form against the teams in the top half of the table is “similar” to the form against the teams in the bottom half of the table and expects the Norwich challenge to be a “tight game”.
Despite the terrible predicament Palace are languished in, Pardew believes that his players' performances have been “substantially better” in the previous two matches. Palace drew 2-2 at West Ham United last week, following a 1-0 defeat to table-toppers Leicester City prior to the international break, and they have shown glimpses of returning to the form that carried them into the Europa League qualification places in December.
Victory over Norwich could put an end to anxiety in the Palace camp
Looking ahead to Saturday’s fixture, Pardew admits that his side would “like to give ourselves a cushion” as they head into a tough set of games to conclude the season.
Palace face a tricky end to the season, including trips to Manchester United, Arsenal and fellow relegation candidates Newcastle United within the remaining seven games. Three points against Norwich could prove vital as they seek safety.
However, the Eagles will be boosted by the return of key players from injury. Pardew admitted that there is “good news on the injury front,” and that only James McArthur and Brede Hangeland remain the only absentees. The medical staff will assess Emmanuel Adebayor on Friday following the injury he suffered while playing for Togo.
Pardew's comments suggest Yohan Cabaye and Connor Wickham will both return to the side having missed the game against West Ham.
Pardew praises Gayle, bemoans his unavailability during Wickham's injury
Pardew concluded his press conference by hailing the impact of Dwight Gayle against the Hammers. The striker had previously seemed forgotten earlier this season, but came off the bench at half-time at the Boleyn Ground to score the equaliser – his first goal since January 2015.
Pardew said that Gayle is “the one we think can get us goals,” and admitted the former Peterborough United striker had been unlucky this season because he was unable to get in the side due to the superb start Palace had to the season. However, when Wickham was injured during the Christmas period, Gayle was unable to fill in as he had a "knock" of his own.
Victory against Norwich would take the Eagles onto 37 points and almost secure safety. However, a defeat would take the 17th-placed Canaries level on points with six games left to play.