9:15am Monday 11th March 2013 in Sport
By Tom Hughes
I think Crystal Palace could clinch second place in the Championship this season. And it’s obvious to me where this resilient optimism comes from.
It might sound extravagant considering the dropped points against Leeds.
But the fight and resolve shown to rescue a point in the final 10 minutes demonstrated the finest traits of Holloway’s side that keep resurfacing this year.
Being determined isn’t enough to attain automatic promotion to the English top flight, and thanking this attitude every week would become trivial quickly.
However, coupled with a defeat for Watford, the never-say-die mentality helped transform a bad weekend into a far less significant one.
At half time on Saturday I said confidently “we’ve got this” before Leeds reversed the score to lead 2-1.
If you’re superstitious you’d probably argue I should keep my positivity in check.
But luckily for my morale I doggedly believe there’s no such thing as jinxing. You make your own luck and all that.
Earlier in the week against Hull the performance was up there with the best display of the season, despite playing KG at right back and constantly shifting between several formations. The fluid style was a joy to watch.
So sadly it came as little surprise that the solution to Palace’s fast moving and delicate passing game adopted by Neil Warnock on Saturday appeared to involve a whole lot of kicking and brute force.
Yet in a twisted way it makes me happy to see the last-ditch coping method employed by opponents is to try and batter the Eagles off the pitch.
It proves they didn’t expect to compete on a footballing level, so instead targeted players like Dobbie, Zaha and Williams with a succession of brutal fouls.
This is why I believe we have the quality and mentality to beat Brighton this Sunday and gain momentum throughout the run in.
Touch wood if you think that means a thing, but I’m happy to ignore voodoo and be confident for once.
Tom Hughes writes for the Five Year Plan