Martin Kelly was on the bench for Tuesday night’s game away to Aston Villa, and having been confident going into the match, he admitted the way things panned out took the team by surprise.
“It was a frustrating result and we weren’t expecting it," he said. "We started pretty fast but then they settled into it really well and the crowd got right behind them. For their players to hear that probably gave them a big lift and caught us off guard. But there’s always lessons to be learnt when you’ve lost, and we’ve just got to put that behind us and look forward to the next few games which are equally important.”
From facing a team at the bottom of the league, to taking on a team challenging for top spot, Kelly says the mentality going into the game doesn’t change and Palace will be looking to bounce back with a positive result.
“You get a little bit more adrenaline playing bigger teams but nerves are exactly the same. You can’t get fazed when you’re up against the so-called superstars. Playing City away is a really difficult fixture but we’ll go there with our game plan and be determined to get a result. It’s ninety minutes, and with the character and commitment of the lads we’ve proved we can beat anyone on our day.”
Having a blip in form effects all sides, and despite recent results, the Eagles still sit in eighth place -only four points off West Ham in fifth. Knowing there is still just under half a season still to go, Kelly is working hard to ensure he’s match-fit and ready if given an opportunity in the starting eleven.
“I’m as eager as ever. I’m keeping myself in tiptop condition doing extra training, and it’s just a case of waiting for my chance to come around. There’s still a lot of games before the end of the season and hopefully I’ll get my chance and provide a good asset to the squad we’ve got.
"It’s frustrating not to play, but it’s an obstacle you face in football. You’re only a minute away from coming on and taking your chance so you’ve just to keep positive.”