Palace boss Alan Pardew eyes Tottenham scalp

Image: SpursWeb

Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew is more optimistic ahead of the Barclays Premier League game with Tottenham than he was last weekend against Manchester City.

The Eagles lost 4-0 at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday but their boss believes the team have had a better chance to ready themselves this week.

They also have home advantage this time, and Pardew has been sharpening up the finishing of his frontmen for the Selhurst Park fixture on Saturday.

He said: “I’m more confident ahead of this game then I was City, not because they’re any less an opponent, but because we’ve had time to prepare.

“We’ve not had a midweek game, so we’ve been able to do some work (in training) that we hadn’t been able to do since mid-December.

“We’ve worked hard this week trying to get our strikers to relax and set themselves to shoot, rather than to pass or take a touch.”

Pardew admires counterpart Mauricio Pochettino and the Tottenham youth set-up, and reckons Harry Kane, who has scored 17 goals in all competitions this season, is the deadliest striker around.

“Spurs have the best goalscorer in the Premier League, in my opinion, in Harry Kane,” Pardew said.

“In terms of the run they are on, they have confidence, their squad is strong and that gives them a massive advantage.

“If Kane was in our team we’d be in the top four.”

Assessing the impact of Tottenham’s former Southampton manager, he added: “Pochettino has done terrifically well in both his jobs in England.

“He’s got what he wants on the pitch. He’s got a chance of a really decent legacy there.

“Whether you can have a legacy in the current game, I don’t know, but you can dream.”

Pardew is looking to field “roughly the same team” who faced City last week, with striker Dwight Gayle being left out on doctor’s orders since returning to training after his hamstring injury. Yannick Bolasie (hip/thigh), Damien Delaney (knock) and Kwesi Appiah (knee) are all unavailable.

The 54-year-old manager has full confidence in goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey being in the right mental state after the heavy defeat last weekend and will have no qualms about picking him again.

Pardew said: “Hennessey will play Saturday, but he’s battered and bruised. We’ve not let him hide; you can’t bury your head in the sand.

“You have to have the mentality to get back to your best and I have no doubt he will do. He is a laid-back character but I have made him worry and get into action.”

Tottenham manager Pochettino has warned his players to keep their wits about them against Pardew’s wily Palace side, with Spurs’ Argentinian boss wary of the home threat this weekend.

“It’s a very good challenge for us to try to win at Crystal Palace, it would be a very good position for us if we win the game,” said Pochettino.

“The players and the squad are very focused, to be ready, to prepare and to compete. We’re expecting a very tough game because it’s not an easy place.

“We must arrive in a very focused condition, to ensure we can fight for the three points.”

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