Part of a Palace back line who have managed three consecutive clean sheets, Pape Souare has turned a new leaf since his sending off against Watford in Feburary, and is producing the kind of performances which impressed so often earlier in the season where his solid defending coupled with pacey attacking play caught the eye of fans and manager alike.
With the Eagles undefeated in April, the Senegalese says their recent results, and in particular the win over Norwich, has given the players a confidence boost going into the final games of the season.
“We have been working hard to find the first win and it was very important to get it against Norwich. We had a long period without picking up any points and now all the staff and fans are a lot happier. We are feeling a little bit more confident, we have five games left and we have to be ready to get the best results we can.”
Having dominated Everton in midweek, the only moot point in what was an otherwise promising display was the lack of goals – Palace creating seven clear shots on target but not one hitting the back of the net. However, the left-back was pleased with the point which put the south London club eleven points clear of Sunderland in eighteenth.
“We had a lot of opportunities to score but they made it very difficult. We tried our best to make the goal and another time against a team where we control the game we have to make sure we take our chances. It makes us feel more comfortable going and playing Arsenal and Man United, and after that we have the semi-final, so it’s good we’ve created a gap between us and the bottom teams.”
The Eagles play Arsenal this Sunday and face a side looking to make up ground on second-placed Tottenham who are six points ahead of the Gunners - albeit having played a game more. Looking ahead to this weekend’s fixture, followed by Manchester United in midweek, Souare says concentration and recovery is key to the team picking up points in what are two tough away games.
“We have to show 100% concentration. Arsenal are a very good team and they want to go further up the league and we then go to Man United and it is not easy to have another game so soon after. The time for recovery is not long and we’ll have to recover quickly, but we’ve got good professionals here and we’ll be prepared for the game. The most important thing is to take each game step by step.”