Crystal Palace’s Yohan Cabaye has revealed the malaise at Newcastle United led to him believing he would never play in an FA Cup final.
Saturday’s showpiece at Wembley represents a significant transformation in the careers of Cabaye and manager Alan Pardew, given the opportunity it presents and the contrast from their time with the Magpies
Pardew swapped St James’ Park for Selhurst Park seven months before Cabaye made the move, and the former has this season prioritised the FA Cup in a way Cabaye previously could not at a club which was recently relegated to the Championship.
It is no secret Pardew was discouraged from pursuing glory in cup competitions and to prioritise only the league, and having witnessed that attitude during his two and a half years there, Cabaye recognises he has been given a chance he believed was beyond him.
“To be honest, no,” Cabaye, 30, answered when asked if he ever thought he’d play in the cup final.
“At Newcastle the cup runs were very bad and now I have the opportunity to play in a big game.
“The FA Cup semi-final (win over Watford) was fantastic, the atmosphere was very good and yes, I am disappointed I didn’t get that with Newcastle.
“The cup has always been important (to Pardew), even at Newcastle. Maybe the group mentality is different.
“All the players now know how important the cup is, to get a trophy. We have had a fantastic run, we have beaten four Premier League teams (to reach the final) and now we are in the final. All the players are focused and determined to win.”