Sport Soccer

Wednesday 21 February 2018

Crystal Palace perfectly-placed for European push - Joel Ward

Joel Ward believes Crystal Palace are well-placed in their bid to secure European football
Joel Ward believes Crystal Palace are well-placed in their bid to secure European football

Joel Ward believes Crystal Palace are perfectly-placed at the Premier League's halfway point in their bid for European qualification.

Palace are unbeaten in six after Monday's goalless draw with struggling Swansea and sit fifth in the table approaching the turn of the year.

Now defender Ward believes the Eagles have what it takes to stay the course, despite missing out on craved victories in consecutive goalless draws against Bournemouth and Swansea.

"We would have taken 31 points at this stage at the start of the season, but as a club we want to keep pushing on," Ward told Palace's official club website.

"We're on a great run at the moment and it would have been nice to get three points to give us a push up the league.

"But we'll take the positives and go into the new year in high spirits and look to build on what we've done."

Patrick Bamford missed a gilt-edged chance to hand Palace victory on Monday, in what proved his final turn for the club.

The on-loan Chelsea striker told Eagles bosses he will return to his parent club directly after his ninth appearance for Alan Pardew's side.

Palace are likely to weigh up bolstering both defence and attack in the January transfer window, especially with key threat Yannick Bolasie missing for all-but three months with hip trouble.

Ward admitted Palace lacked the vital killer instinct in failing to see off Swansea, but remained unfazed by a frustrating day for the Eagles.

"The only thing that was missing was the goal because we had a lot of possession and managed to get in the final third enough times," Ward said.

"It was just the final ball that was letting us down and we couldn't find the back of the net."

Managerless Swansea claimed yet another boost in their bid to ease clear of the relegation picture, with caretaker boss Alan Curtis insisting the club will continue to hunt the "right person" to replace Gary Monk.

"If we lost a couple of matches the club would be under pressure to appoint a full-time manager," Curtis said.

"But it has to be the right person. The style of football we play, we can't just pluck anybody from obscurity.

"But the chairman and the board have usually got that process quite right.

"Whichever manager who has been appointed, they've contributed massively."

Press Association

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