Alan Pardew conquers his nerves to plot Norwich City’s Premier League downfall
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Alan Pardew revealed he was gripped by nerves before Crystal Palace edged a fraught 1-0 Premier League win against Norwich City to ease the Eagles' own relegation fears.
Palace's first league victory at Selhurst Park since December 12 was a source of immense relief for the experienced Pardew. The former Newcastle boss had urged Palace's fans to create a stirring atmosphere and Pardew included the local media in his post-match gratitude following Jason Puncheon's 68th minute winner.
'I have been in this game a long time, as a player and a manager, and I was as nervous before this game as a manager as I have ever been, I think, in my career, because it was so important,' he said. 'I tried not to relay that to the players, because I needed to keep a steady hand here, but you could definitely sense it in the team.
'We were edgy, we were nervous. Fortunately, our fans really helped us today. Massively. I don't think we would have won without the fans. I want to thank the local papers, they really helped us. It shows what happens when you work with local media - the power they can have. They changed the atmosphere in the stadium this week for us - we might not have won this game if they hadn't done that. I thank them for that. It meant a huge amount to us all, from the chairman to the new directors. It was an important win.'
Pardew insists Palace still have work to do to secure their Premier League status but with an FA Cup semi-final against Watford at Wembley later this month a testing season can finish on a high note.
'I don't know if we're safe but it's gone a long long way towards it,' he said. 'We want to look up. Mid-table is only three or four points away and that's our next target. I understand these players and I understand this team.
'This season could still pan out as a very good season for us. I think mid-table is about right for us. I think we should have four or six more points. If you put that on to our total now we would be mid-table.
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'We've also got this opportunity to do something the club has never done and that's win the FA Cup. We needed to get the points in the bag and we've still got three games left before that semi-final. Maybe we could be safe by then and that would be nice. We can all put our party frocks on and go to the semi-final.'