Despite the fact that he has an FA Cup final next weekend, Alan Pardew has said that Sunday’s game against Southampton is still a big one for his side.
Pardew returns to St Mary’s to take on his former club with Palace sitting 14th in the table going into the final game of the season. A win for the Eagles could see them leap up into 12th if results elsewhere go their way, but a defeat could see them slip as low as 16th.
With Premier League prize money still up for grabs, Pardew isn’t taking the encounter on the south coast lightly, but admits that he has to take the final against Manchester United into account with Palace hoping to claim a first ever piece of major silverware.
At his pre-match press conference, he said: “I’ve got one eye on the cup final because we’ve got a chance to make history at this club and I’m very much aware of that, but it’s [Southampton] a game that’s very important.
“There’s a four-place swing for us – we could get two places higher and two teams below us could catch us, so we need to get a result. It’s a big game for us because that four-place swing is a lot of prize money.
However there’s been no problem with the focus.
“I don’t think anybody in the division underestimates Southampton. They have a strong footing with the CEO and the manager who are very experience and competent people, and we’re all envious of the playing staff and the facilities they have. It’s a really growing club and when you think of some of the days down at The Dell when things weren’t so great they’ve come a long way.”
Once Sunday’s game is finished, focus will immediately turn to the FA Cup final and Pardew has praised England’s football’s governing bodies for giving the spectacle the attention it deserves.
“I think the Premier League and the FA have come to a great decision having the FA Cup final at the end of the Premier League season as that’s how it should be,” he added. “It gives the FA Cup a week’s build up and we’re going to feel that here. The guys won’t understand that until they’ve lived it and how it generates the feeling, so we’ve got that to look forward to.
“Wedging the final between two Premier League games is not giving it the respect the competition deserves. It is the second biggest major trophy in this country and therefore the positioning of it is correct. We’re going to reap the benefits of that, as Manchester United will, and we’re looking forward to it.”