Palace have the quality to hurt anyone, says Alan Pardew

Sunday 24 Apr 2016
Alan Pardew greets goalscorer Yannick Bolasie
Alan Pardew heaped praise on his Crystal Palace players after they steered the Eagles into the Emirates FA Cup Final with a 2-1 win over Watford.

Yannick Bolasie and Connor Wickham scored either side of Troy Deeney’s equaliser to fire the Selhurst Park outfit into a showdown with 11-time winners Manchester United on Saturday 21 May.

Pardew said: “The team was very focused today. The players delivered our game plan to the letter. It’s all well and good talking about the psychology of a semi-final, but you still need to deliver.

Crystal Palace 2-1 Watford

Emirates FA Cup semi-final
Wembley Stadium connected by EE
Sunday 24 April 2016

“My team were magnificent today, they really were. Other than for a short period I thought we controlled the game with some outstanding performances.

“The spirit of the group saw us through. They really were terrific.”

He continued: “This group are a pleasure to manage, even when we had difficult results in the league. There was never any split in the group. We’ve been solid all the way through and that’s why we’re going to the Cup Final.”

Go behind the scenes with Tunnelcam

Palace will contest just the second FA Cup Final in their history, and Pardew was a key man in their famous run in 1990, scoring the semi-final winner over Liverpool at Villa Park.

And he believes there are similarities between his team and the one he played in under Steve Coppell 26 years ago.

“[The 1990 Final] did get a couple of mentions in the build-up. It’s difficult when John Salako is in the room because he mentions it every five minutes!

“We did pay homage to that Final with the flicked-on corner [for Bolasie’s opening goal].

Connor Wickham celebrates Crystal Palace

Connor Wickham celebrates Crystal Palace's second

“It was a well-constructed goal. Steve Coppell can take a little bit of credit for that.

“The characteristics of the team are similar to 1990; hard-working, diligent, good defenders and a bit of pace on the attack.”

Pardew said United are overwhelming favourites to win the Cup next month but believes his players have the potential to upset Louis van Gaal’s array of stars.

He said: “The guys can enjoy the build-up [to The Final]. We are going to play against a team that potentially could be a great team and I’m pleased for Louis. [The press] have given him a tough time this year.

“They are the biggest club in the world. It’s a tough task for us but we can still deliver because we’ve got a group that buy into the game plan that we have.

Yannick Bolasie heads in at the far post

Yannick Bolasie heads in at the far post

“I think Man United are going to have a difficult game in The Final. They will be favourites, for sure, but we have looked a lot better in the last seven or eight games.

“We have got players who can hurt any team.”

Meanwhile, Watford boss Quique Sanchez Flores added: “When you prepare all week you are not expecting to concede on the first set-piece.

“The first goal changed everything. In the second half we played with more spirit.

“Congratulations to Crystal Palace. They have a good team and a good manager.”

By Glenn Lavery at Wembley Stadium connected by EE