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Dann: Proud Of Team Performance

25 April 2016

Central defender Scott Dann has played in every round of the FA Cup this season for the Eagles and at the heart of a tough Palace defence against Watford in the semi-final, was instrumental in securing the victory for Alan Pardew’s team.


With the win, an FA Cup Final date at Wembley Stadium against Manchester United looms large on 21st May, a Wembley final which the defender is hoping to be part of, for the second time around after getting injured in the 2011 League Cup semi-final for Birmingham City who went on to beat Arsenal in the final at the national stadium.


“No chance [am I missing that]” said the former Blackburn Rovers defender about being part of the Palace squad for the English showpiece final in less than four weeks. “I was disappointed last time it came around in the Carling Cup; it was a big occasion and Birmingham went on to win it, but hopefully we can win the FA Cup and I can be part of it this time.


“It’s a massive achievement [for Palace] and we’re all thrilled to finally get there. We’ve had a tough run and Watford battled right until the end but we got through and we’re looking forward to the final now.”


The battle from Watford saw the whole Palace team defend as a unit and that squad togetherness was something Dann was quick to praise after the game.


“We’re proud of our defensive performance and that goes for the whole team, not just the back four and Mile,” said the 29-year-old.


“We defended well and threw bodies in the way when we needed to. In the first half we totally controlled the game and in the second half when we called upon to get ourselves in front of the ball there were bodies flying everywhere and that’s what it takes to win games.


“You know the teams’ are going to have chances and we made sure we got in the way at the right times and we had that desire to win knowing that there’s a big carrot at the end of the game.


“When you know the likes of Yannick (Bolasie) are going off and he cannot really walk anymore and Wilf (Zaha) was on his last legs - the amount of running he done; he was unstoppable at times - so when we have those players doing both sides of the game, attacking and defending - we’re a tough team to play against so going into the next couple of games and the final, we’re in good shape.


“That defending is what it’s going to take to go and win the final as well – it’s going to take more than that and we’re capable of it.


“To concede after being in control for the majority of the first half was disappointing as we let them get back into the game and on the front foot, but fortunately for us Connor’s put a great header in the back of the net and that’s what he’s capable of.”


Just before Watford equalised, Dann himself was booked for a tackle on Odion Ighalo for which he received a yellow card, and for the remaining 40 minutes had to exercise caution on his tackling in a tough second period. At one point, after another tackle on Ighalo resulting in a Watford free-kick, the central defender was talked to by referee Craig Pawson, but justice prevailed and Dann was happy to acknowledge the good officiating in such a high profile game.


“I didn’t think there was much in it,” he said. “But when you give the referee a decision to make like that you’re just hoping that he gives you the benefit of the doubt. I don’t think I made too many fouls during the game but fortunately for me he gave me the benefit of the doubt and I’m delighted.”


Delighted he may be, but after picking up a knock in the Arsenal league game, Dann is hoping his body can see out the remaining games of the season, after taking another knock on the famous Wembley turf.


“It’s a nice pitch to play on,” he said. “It’s bigger than Selhurst, but you play on pitches like that week in, week out; you go to the Emirates, to Old Trafford – they’re as big as that.


“I got another knock today but that’s part and parcel of the game and I’m sure that there’s not one person in that changing room who hasn’t taken a knock and not feeling a bit.


“It will be 100% in a couple of days, but it’s fine; that’s what you’re in it for and that’s what it takes to get the right result and I thought we more than deserved the result.”

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