Alan Pardew felt his players benefited massively from a training camp in Spain after knocking Tottenham out of the FA Cup.
A close-range strike from the recalled Martin Kelly on the stroke of half-time secured their progress to the cup’s quarter-finals where they will face one of Pardew’s former clubs, Championship side Reading.
Having taken his team away during the past week and adopted an unfamiliar 4-4-2 formation, Palace’s preparations for Sunday’s fixture were vastly different from their routine match build-up and Pardew has now urged his team to capitalise on the momentum they have built.
“(Training in Spain) was important and the timing of it was good because the league form, we needed to sit ourselves down and go, ‘It ain’t been that bad. Let’s kick on now with these final 12, 13 games that we’ve got left’,” the 54-year-old said.
“The guys showed (that). We were resilient. We defended well, which you have to do at Spurs. We broke well and second half, if I’m honest, I was surprised that we handled that so well. We really did well in the second half.
“I’ve seen it in players (that they have been lifted by their performance). I said to the players in the changing room, ‘You won’t know the effects and the impact the FA Cup has until you reach the quarter-finals, the semi-final and the final. Then you understand this competition and the romance of it.”
Palace have not won in the Premier League since December 19 at Stoke, since when Yannick Bolasie had been injured, but the winger returned from the substitutes’ bench at White Hart Lane and Pardew also believes his team demonstrated their ability to adapt after their two previous league defeats by Spurs.
“(Bolasie’s) massively important,” he said. “The fact he was on the bench gave everyone a boost and this week we had in Spain, seeing a bit of his exuberance lifted everybody. There’s no doubt about that. He’s a big player for us.
“We learned some lessons from the two Tottenham games before. We changed the shape so we didn’t get pushed back so far but in doing that we had to release our full-backs to get forward. To get that goal from a full-back shows the kind of intent that we had.”