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Puncheon On His Away Day Experience

22 February 2016

Jason Puncheon enjoyed his experience sitting in the away end with the 5,000 Palace fans that had travelled to White Hart Lane on Sunday and insisted that he would be keen to do it again during his time out injured.

The midfielder looks set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines, so took the opportunity on Sunday to experience the Eagles' 1-0 FA Cup win over Tottenham Hotspur as a travelling fan.

"The last time I'd sat there I would have been ten or eleven, so that was the first time as a player," he said.

"The main factor was my auntie. She always follows me, but she just loves the away games, all the away games in and around London she would go. The West Hams, the Arsenals, the Chelseas, the Tottenhams, she always wants to go. She says it's an unbelievable atmosphere. I would never expect that from my aunt, the type of character she is, but she loves it.

"So I think that [was a factor] and being on the pitch you know that the Palace fans can carry you through the game, so I wanted to experience that for myself, to see what it was like, and I thought it was a wonderful experience. It was great."

Pictures emerged on social media of the 29-year-old south Londoner enjoying the game from the upper tier at White Hart Lane and the man himself admitted he got into the spirit of the day when Martin Kelly fired home the winner on the stroke of half time.

"I was going mad myself!" He enthused. "It was important for the team to win. The first half wasn't really panning out for us, but some times that can happen in football. That shows [how good the support is] as well, the way the fans were, they didn't get despondent. And the Tottenham fans can see that the Palace fans are going non-stop, even when we're not playing so well they're still at it and that can help your team.

"You sort of sensed that we quietened the Tottenham fans, we didn't let them get into their mode," he added. "And as soon as we scored you just felt the place erupt!"

Puncheon clearly enjoyed the experience, insisting that he would be keen to attend another match as a fan, whether that be one of the upcoming Premier League away days or the quarter final trip to Reading next month, should he still be sidelined.

"I would do it again definitely! It was good, I really enjoyed it from the moment I walked in there until the moment I left," he said. "You don't really realise until you sit in there [what it's like]. 

"On the pitch you can feel it some times, that adrenaline, that buzz that runs through your body that those fans give you. It's second to none. But then sitting in the middle of it - and you're right in the middle of it as a fan - to embrace that, was good for me. 

"They had me under a bit of pressure though when they were trying to get me to sing!" He added with a laugh.

"I didn't actually sing," he admitted. "In my head I was singing! 

"It's weird, when you join a new football club most will ask you to sing and that's a lot of pressure. You're standing in front of 30 professional footballers, a manager and you're asked to sing. 

"Yesterday, I'm standing in front of 5,000 Crystal Palace fans and they're trying to get me to sing. I was sweating non-stop, people don't understand that pressure, they do it every week! It's totally different to what you do on the pitch.

"What I will say though is that I'm south London and proud!"

Looking ahead to the trip to Reading, Puncheon was optimistic, insisting that Palace's run to the quarter finals was a source of inspiration, given the calibre of opposition already beaten by the Eagles.

"We've got to fancy our chances," he said. "We're going to have to beat some tops teams along the way to get to the final and to win it. 

"Right now we've taken three Premier League teams in Southampton, Stoke and Tottenham. Now we've got Reading and we're not going to underestimate them, it's the FA Cup anything can happen, but we've got to fancy our chances against anyone. I think on our day we're capable of beating anyone."

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