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Ledley: Quick Start Will Be Key

2 October 2015


Palace midfielder Joe Ledley has urged his teammates to get off to a good start against West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, in an effort to hurt Tony Pulis' side before they get a chance to put their game plan into practice.

The Baggies will likely look to hurt Palace on the break, being the away side and coming off the back of a 3-2 home defeat to Everton last Monday. So Ledley has stressed the need for a quick start, to coax the visitors out of their comfort zone.

"I remember playing them last season. They came here and beat us," he said. "They're going to be very difficult to break down. 

"You've got to keep level headed and just keep going and going. There's no point being frustrated, you just need to create that one opportunity and you need to take it. Then you're in a great position, it becomes hard for them to come out and attack you. Hopefully we'll just get off to a good start and keep our focus."

The Wales international made his Eagles debut against the Baggies, under then Palace boss Pulis, and scored in the 3-1 win over them. Despite playing out of position at left-back, the 28-year-old performed his job well and managed to get on the scoresheet with fellow debutant Tom Ince.

"I remember signing and the gaffer saying, 'you'll be in midfield, you're a midfielder' and the first game I was at left-back!" Ledley reflected. "I thought 'oh no, it's not going to be one of those is it?' But after that I played all the rest in midfield. 

"I was grateful Tony gave me the opportunity to play in the Premier League and I scored as well, on my debut. I couldn't have asked for a better start to life at Crystal Palace."

Despite the fast start, and near-permanent place in the first team ever since, Ledley has struggled for game time in SE25 recently, through a mix of squad rotation and then an injury sustained on international duty. He returned for the back-to-back wins over Charlton and Watford, playing key roles in both, and helping the Eagles regain momentum after an equally-long run of losses.

He said it was key to stay focussed during his time out of the first-team, and claimed that 'rustiness' is often more psychological than physical, after a sustained period without top flight football.

"I think it's more of a thing in your head," he said. "Obviously you feel it for a few days after when you haven't played [much], definitely, after a match. 

"You just need to keep your head focussed, prove that you can be relied on at any time and keep on your toes, like I did: Macca [James McArthur] suffered a slight injury and I got my opportunity, hopefully that's enough, but we'll see on Saturday."

A full video interview with Joe Ledley - in which he discusses the heroic win at Watford, playing in central midfield with Yohan Cabaye and much more - is now available to watch for free in full HERE.


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