Early Norwich City onslaught leaves Crystal Palace’s Delaney impressed
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Crystal Palace captain Damien Delaney felt like he was facing one of the Premier League's title challengers during the opening exchanges at Carrow Road.
Such was the Canaries' impressive start to life back in the top flight, the Eagles' skipper was overwhelmed by the hosts' dominance at Carrow Road. While Palace eventually got a foothold in the match to triumph by three goals to one, the experienced Irishman is sure Norwich City can take great confidence from their first competitive display since gaining promotion from the Championship.
The former Ipswich Town centre-back said: 'Norwich will be very competitive.
'Listen, for the first 20 minutes on Saturday they were pretty exceptional. We've kind of been in those situations before when you play against the big four teams. That's kind of what it felt like, the way we were getting dominated.
'Yet there's enough experience and know how in this team not to panic.'
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Delaney finished off a clever training-ground routine early in the second period to double the visitors' advantage after Wilfried Zaha had struck late in the first half.
While Nathan Redmond's long-range finish pulled Alex Neil's troops back into the game a combination of Cameron Jerome's acrobatic goal being ruled out and Yohan Cabaye's first Palace strike ensured three points could be taken back to Selhurst Park.
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Many pundits have tipped Palace to improve on their 10th-placed finish with Alan Pardew – who masterminded a strong end to the last campaign – adding huge quality to his ranks. One look at a substitutes' bench containing Yannick Bolasie and Connor Wickham displayed a strength in depth which has got most Eagles excited – including the club's skipper.
Delaney, 34, said: 'We knew if we could weather the first 20 minutes that we would grow into the game and that's exactly what we did.
'Wilf (Zaha) and Punch (Puncheon) started coming into the game and we felt a bit more comfortable. Our job (as defenders) is to give the lads a platform.
'We need to keep the goal count down as much as possible and not give ourselves a mountain to climb. If we can do that we know we've got enough. Especially when you look at what we had on the bench and with players like Yohan (Cabaye) in the team.'
Palace's plethora of attacking options has seen Glenn Murray, who started the weekend fixture in Norfolk, and Dwight Gayle both linked with moves away from London during this transfer window.
The Canaries have been reportedly interested in both as they look to add reinforcements to their strikeforce. Yet it appears any hopes of landing Gayle could be over.
The hitman was last night strongly tipped to complete a move to Championship outfit Bristol City after the two clubs were thought to have agreed a £6million transfer fee.
'There may be some players moved out but Dwight Gayle will not go anywhere unless his valuation is met,' said Pardew recently.
City and Bournemouth are thought to have been put off by a potential £10m price tag. Yet given the Eagles' flying start to the campaign – and the 24-year-old's plummet down the Palace pecking order – they appear keen to now let the hitman leave in a cut-price deal.
The pacy 5ft 10in forward – who was plucked out of the non-league game by Peterborough United in 2013 – found the net 10 times for Palace last term – despite being restricted to mainly substitute appearances.