Alan Pardew has enlisted the help of England’s Six Nations-winning rugby coach Eddie Jones as the manager seeks to keep Crystal Palace focused on the Premier League ahead of next month’s FA Cup final.
Palace defeated Watford 2-1 on Sunday to book a place in the decider against Manchester United on May 21.
The prospect of capturing a major piece of silverware, should they overcome Louis van Gaal’s men, has made for a buoyant atmosphere at the club.
But Palace, eight points clear of 17th-placed Sunderland and Norwich in 18th, are yet to guarantee top-flight survival, leaving Pardew determined to see his players maintain their concentration, starting with a trip to face Newcastle United on Saturday.
“Only a Cup final can generate [this type of mood],” he said. “The guys are in fantastic spirits, looking forward to that occasion.
“I need to focus the team on this Saturday’s game and the game after and the game after that. We need to keep this feeling.
“We’re still not mathematically safe and that’s the task at hand.
“Eddie Jones was in today. We’ve had a word with the team about complacency [and avoiding it].
“We share a couple of professional friends. A lot of the views he has run parallel with my own. It was nice to have him.”
And Jones is set to return the favour by hosting Pardew at an England training session.
“I’m looking forward to it – as long as I don’t have to join in,” the Palace manager said.
The match on Saturday will mark Pardew’s first return to Newcastle since leaving the club to take over at Palace in January 2015.
The 54-year-old was not universally admired by the supporters at St James’ Park, but claimed he is keen to see his former team, 19th in the table and one point off safety, survive the drop.
“I loved managing Newcastle,” he said. “I had some great times there and some difficult ones. Of course I want them to stay up.
“I’m desperate they stay up. Having said that, my job is to get the three points for Crystal Palace.”
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