Thursday 29 September 2016

Alan Pardew hopes Leicester 'stardust' falls on FA Cup finalists Crystal Palace

Published 06/05/2016 | 12:06

Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew
Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew

Alan Pardew has challenged Crystal Palace to seize on Leicester's shot in the arm for the underdog and take inspiration for their own fight against the odds.

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Palace boss Pardew hailed Leicester for breaking English football's "glass ceiling" by fending off the traditional powers to win the Premier League title.

The former Palace midfielder has now called on his Eagles to channel that spirit into their quest to tie up top-flight safety - then to topple Manchester United in the FA Cup final.

Palace host Stoke on Saturday with Pardew demanding his side finally secure their Premier League place for another campaign, while also conceding that keeping focus on the league remains a tough challenge.

"Leicester won the league after 36 games and for 10 games last season they were the best team in the league," said Pardew.

"So for the best part of 50 games they've been the best team in the country. All this about things falling their way is not quite correct.

"So they deserve all the plaudits they get. I'm glad they've done it early because they can enjoy it now.

"It's a lift for us, because it means the underdog can do it. We'll definitely be the underdog in the cup final, and that gives us a little boost.

"We've got a chance to make history at this football club, our run in the cup is very impressive. We've not stolen into the final, we've had to beat some good teams to get there.

"I think we can improve our position in the league too though, and a win against Stoke would do that, and that's our immediate focus.

"It's not easy to keep minds off the cup, because for our level it's a unique position for a lot of the players, so it's an adjustment.

"Some of us who have been here before know how to treat it, but for others it's difficult.

"The focus has definitely slipped in the league and you can't argue with that.

"I've got to put a team out that's focused to win, and that's important.

"It's a great thing to look forward to, there's real excitement about the place and we've got a job to do this Saturday."

Leicester's 5,000/1 odds of winning the league before the start of the season have been made to look ridiculous, with Claudio Ranieri claiming the first league title of his career with the Foxes.

Palace can be backed at a moderate 17/5 to see off Manchester United in the FA Cup final by comparison, but Pardew still hopes the Eagles can borrow some of Leicester's "stardust" for that Wembley showdown on May 21.

"I think Leicester's title win is already impacting on other managers," said Pardew. "You can only name about five or six managers not under pressure in the Premier League.

"At the top clubs it's had an impact definitely. Leicester have shattered the glass ceiling that I for one thought would probably be impossible to break.

"They've gone and done it and it's amazing. We all know it's unique.

"It puts more pressure on those of us lucky enough to be managing in the Premier League, so we'll look forward to that.

"Football isn't all logic. It's almost like some stardust has fallen on Leicester, and we hope it falls on us in the cup final."

Press Association

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