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Pardew Reflects On Tough First Half

29 October 2016

Alan Pardew admitted that his team found the first half very difficult against Liverpool when the Reds netted three of their four goals as they ran out 4-2 winners at Selhurst Park.

A thrilling first 45 minutes saw Emre Can, Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip all score for the Merseysiders despite James McArthur's best efforts with a brace, before Roberto Firmino wrapped up the win after the break.

In his post-match press conference, the Palace boss felt that his players struggled to cope with Liverpool in that first period, but looked much more assured after half-time and says that there is plenty to work on before the trip to Burnley next week.

Here is what he had to say about certain topics:

The first half: "It was a bit too open for us against a side as good as they were. They kept wriggling out of situations with some brilliant technical play at times but we didn't start as I would have liked. We didn't have enough pressure at the top of the pitch and their two centre-halves had too much time, and then we were defending in the last third where they're as good as anyone.

"It was a very difficult half for us but to concede two set plays is unusual for us, and that's something we need to address. Sometimes its difficult on the sideline or in the press box to feel what the players are sensing out there, and some of their play was so quick and fast it got us in a negative mindset. We addressed that at half-time and we were a lot higher up the pitch, did a lot better and put the goalie under pressure as we had a lot of opportunities at 3-2."

Zaha's penalty appeals: "He's the type of player that if he's going at full pace and there's an obstruction, sometimes he's going to go out the way of it, over it - you don't know what he's going to do. There were three decisions there that were so close and I'm not sure if they're penalties or not. I don't think Wilf purposely went down for any of them.

"You can say that for the first one Can sticks his leg out and he's got to go over that, and for the third he's been hit really hard and I don't think he's got any other choice but to go down there. Is it a fair challenge? I don't know. I don't think he was looking for a penalty today in terms of diving."

Positives and minuses: "McArthur was exceptional today and he didn't deserve to be on the losing team. He scored two goals and his energy level was a positive force for us today. However the back four needs a bit of work and that's something we'll focus on this week."

Andros Townsend's omission: "He saw me and said he wants to play on the right. He said he could do more when we played him there last week and Wilf was terrific there today, so I've got a tough call. The left side of our team is missing Pape Souare who gives us the balance of a left foot so that's another area I need to work on, but it's not a problem - Chungy did OK in that role."

Liverpool's title chances: "They're certainly going to be close. Their two centre halves were terrific today and took on the challenge of Christian [Benteke] and he had his hands full dealing with those two, and that was a really interesting battle because that's an area where Liverpool have not been strong."

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