Jason Puncheon has said that his Palace side will give Leicester City the respect that being reigning Premier League champions deserves ahead of today’s game with the Foxes.
Claudio Ranieri’s men took the world by surprise when they lifted the trophy after an astonishing campaign, but they have yet to replicate their league form from 2015/16, having already matched last season’s total of four defeats despite it not being November yet.
However three straight wins in the Champions League proves that there is still plenty of quality in the squad, and Puncheon admits that the Eagles will treat this game the same as they would against one of the division’s traditional top teams.
He said: “Leicester have had a slow start but let’s not forget that they are champions and you don’t lose that ability just like that, and I think they’ll get themselves back up there. It’s difficult for any team when you have that much success, and even teams like Manchester United and Chelsea have struggled after winning the league.
“They’re unbeaten in the Champions League and won all their games in that so we’re not going to go there and think they’re not at it. We’re going to give them the respect they deserve as they’re champions but we’ll try and take our game to them. “
Palace will be looking to bounce back following defeat against West Ham United seven days ago, but Puncheon has suggested that the confidence gained from their previous four games which yielded 10 points is still intact.
On last week’s loss, he added: “It was disappointing for ourselves but we’re not going to beat ourselves up about it and say that we haven’t turned the corner because we have. We’ve won some games and got some good results along the way, but we need to forget about that now and move onto the next one.”
Puncheon has been one of the leading lights for the club this season and topped the Premier League’s statistical charts for most chances created going into the West Ham game, but now he hopes that his threat in the final third can help him score his first of the season at the King Power Stadium today.
“I was aware of that stat when the manager told me and it’s great to have that statistic but I would like to have more goals and assists,” he continued. “Having Christian [Benteke] up there will help as he puts himself in the right positions and dictates where he wants the ball, and that’s good for us.
“Competition is healthy for the team as everyone now knows that they need to bring their A-game to the table and I think that’s going to be really good to help push us up the table.”