Alan Pardew believes Crystal Palace have the most difficult start of any Premier League team this season and knows the pressure is on his players to deliver after a fruitful transfer window.
Palace, who travel to newly promoted Norwich City on Saturday, secured a top-10 finish last term by winning 10 matches after the turn of the year.
Pardew has been busy during the close-season improving his squad. Yohan Cabaye’s arrival from Paris Saint-Germain in a club-record deal has provided the highlight of Palace’s recruitment, while Connor Wickham, Patrick Bamford, Bakary Sako and Alex McCarthy have also come in.
Expectation levels surrounding Palace have risen as a result, but a tricky opening six games lies in wait – including matches against Arsenal, champions Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham.
“We are trying to improve everything from the top down. We’re getting there,” Pardew said ahead of the trip to Carrow Road.
“We’ve done a marvellous job with the finances and now the team has to deliver.
“The start will be difficult. Our first few weeks are very, very tough. Perhaps the most difficult of any Premier League side.
“Success for us is a season that replicates the second half of last season. A commitment to winning games and entertaining. I like to think we’re an exciting team. It’s dangerous to say that, but I think we’re good to watch.”
Norwich returned to the top flight after a one-season stay in the Championship following a play-off final win over Middlesbrough in May.
Manager Alex Neil, who penned a new long-term contract in June, has received plenty of plaudits for the job he has done since taking charge in January, taking 25 points from his first 10 matches alone.
The likes of Robbie Brady, Andre Wisdom and Youssouf Mulumbu have joined during the close-season, although the latter is sidelined with a metatarsal injury.
While survival in their debut Premier League season would satisfy most managers, Neil wants to set targets higher.
“I think if you approach the season with it all being about survival, then realistically you’re looking at finishing 17th and being happy with that and I wouldn’t be happy with that,” he told the Eastern Daily Press.
“I think we’ve got to go and attack it, exactly like we did when I first came down, and we can’t have any fear of what’s coming.”
Martin Olsson (shoulder) is a doubt for Norwich, while Palace are without Marouane Chamakh (knock) and Julian Speroni (hand).
Fraizer Campbell (hamstring) is also likely to be unavailable for Pardew.
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!