Jason Puncheon returns to his old club this weekend knowing a victory against the Saints will be the perfect antidote to Palace’s league defeat at home to Chelsea last Sunday.
“The manager has made it clear how important Saturday is and I think the players are grasping at the opportunity to play. As a club and as players, we take the FA Cup very seriously and we want to get as far as we can. The furthest I’ve got is the fifth round but we’ve got the capabilities to go further this year and we’ll be taking that mentality into the game - it's the FA Cup and magical things can happen.”
A Southampton player for four years, Puncheon is well versed on the club’s philosophy and attacking style of play but believes Palace are starting to position themselves as a club of similar ilk – playing an exciting brand of football and becoming an established Premier League side.
“You’re looking at two good football clubs. Southampton for the last three years have been that mid-table team doing really well and we’re in a similar mode now to when Southampton were just going through that transition. Our training ground’s changed, the club is moving forward with the players we’re trying to attract, and we’ve got to aspire to better them.”
With pacey full-backs and wingers who like to put crosses in the box, the Eagles will need to ensure they negate any early Southampton pressure which could set the tone for the rest of the game.
“I know Southampton as a football club and the way they play. There’s a reason why their full-backs play so well because they choose the right teams to do that to. They put balls in dangerous areas and they’re also very good footballers, so we’ll have to be patient but there’s no doubt we’ll want to win the game – we’re not interested in a draw.”