Crystal Palace assistant manager Keith Millen has admitted that boss Alan Pardew wanted his side to emulate his goal from the FA Cup semi-final in 1990 in their recent semi-final against Watford at Wembley stadium.
The Eagles’ opening goal was scored by Yannick Bolasie, and it had vast similarities to the goal Pardew scored for Palace against Liverpool 26 years before.
Millen admits Palace wanted to re-enact famous Pardew goal
It was originally assumed that the sheer resemblance of the two goals was purely coincidental, but Millen told the Croydon Advertiser that Pardew “wanted us to work the flick-on” that led to Bolasie’s sixth-minute goal.
Damien Delaney’s header from Yohan Cabaye’s corner was almost a carbon copy of Andy Thorn’s flick-on in 1990, and Bolasie steered in from close-range in similar fashion to his manager.
Millen claimed he “showed it (Pardew’s goal) twice to the players” when they practiced it at their Beckenham training ground, and said it “was pleasing” to see it work at Wembley.
The assistant also said that it was part of the routine to have Bolasie arrive at the back post, despite striker Connor Wickham or either of the two central defenders being a more obvious candidate to score a header from a set-piece.
Wickham goal seals FA Cup final fate as Eagles prepare for 'replay' against United
Palace ran out eventual 2-1 winners at Wembley after Wickham headed home following Troy Deeney’s equaliser to book the Eagles’ place in just their second-ever FA Cup final.
Pardew’s side will also face a re-run of the 1990 final against Manchester United, where an exciting 3-3 draw culminated in the Red Devils winning 1-0 in the replay at the old Wembley stadium.
Palace face tricky end to season prior to final
Palace face three tough Premier League fixtures against Newcastle United, Stoke City and Southampton before returning to Wembley at the end of May, and top-flight safety is not yet mathematically secure.
Pardew's former club Newcastle will aim to close the gap on the Eagles, who sit on 39 points, while Stoke and Southampton still have Europa League qualification in mind.
Palace will get the chance to win their first-ever FA Cup on 21 May against Louis van Gaal's side.