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Thomas: Eagles Aiming To Spread Wings

16 January 2015

Jerome Thomas has revealed that Alan Pardew has told his new Eagles side to 'spread their wings' in their attempts to soar clear of the relegation zone over the coming weeks.

The winger is just one of number of players who have come back into contention under the new boss, and he says that Pardew's positive mentality has gone done well with the rest of the squad which has been reflected in the early results of his tenure.

Ahead of Saturday's trip to fellow strugglers Burnley, Thomas said: “All new managers have a philosophy and a plan when they come in which they've thought about before taking the job, and then it's just a case of them trying to implement it as soon as possible. 

“Alan came in and said what he was looking for, he wanted the lads to be more positive and express themselves more, 'spread our wings' is the phrase he used, and he's been showing us that on the training field and the two games that he's been in charge for.

“The main thing I was looking for when the new manager came in was to install more confidence in us to play more football because everyone knows the way we were playing under Tony Pulis, it wasn't very attractive but it was very effective. 

“I kept telling people that that's not the only way to win games in the Premier League and I think Alan has epitomised that by telling us to play more and relax on the ball, and encouraging us to play out from the back. All of these things combined got us a great result against Tottenham.”

As well as Thomas, players like Glenn Murray and Adlene Guedioura have come back into contention under Pardew and the 31-year-old is feeling confident that if given a chance by a manager who he worked under previously at Charlton Athletic, he'll take it.

“It's a clean slate for the people who weren't previously involved and that's always going to give people a lift, and it puts the pressure on others to up their game because at the end of the day it's about competition and pushing each other. I think all of that combined has given the club a lift.

“I took it upon myself to go and see him last week. I knocked on his door and said I knew he had a lot on his plate but I wanted to let him know that I'm ready for my chance. There's been games where I've been on the bench itching to get on, thinking 'we can win this' even though in hindsight they were good draws [against Queens Park Rangers and Aston Villa] but I felt I could have come on and won the game.

“He said he knows what I can do and that he wouldn't hesitate to use me if it was the right time, so for me now it's just a case of waiting it out. My game hasn't changed but there are a lot of wingers here fighting for places so it's about staying focused and working hard.

“Jason Puncheon scored against Tottenham, Wilfried Zaha is getting his chance and Dwight Gayle has been playing on the wing so it just shows the options that we've got. Competition is good, it's something I've never been worried about in my career but this is the first time I've been on the bench for a while when I've been fit but it's just a new challenge. Without sounding too cliché at this point it's not really about myself it's about the team and trying to get up the table.”

That mission continues tomorrow at Turf Moor when Palace take on Burnley in what is being dubbed by some as a six-pointer. However Thomas isn't too concerned about where the opposition lie in the table as much as he is about extending the club's four game unbeaten run. 

He added: “Burnley will be confident but Sean Dyche pretty much picks the same team so we know what we'll be up against. It's just a case of us preparing for that and then implementing what Alan wants us to do. We've got a new striker in in Yaya Sanogo so hopefully he can offer something going forward.

“It's a massive game but I don't think that's because of Burnley, it's more us wanting to get back-to-back wins. That's the key to getting on a run and that's what we're focusing on."

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