Despite having to sit out yesterday’s win with Liverpool, Mamadou Sakho was delighted to see his temporary side pick up a crucial three points against his parent club.
Although ineligible to be named on the teamsheet, the Eagles defender watched the 2-1 win from the bench at the home of the Reds, whom he left for the remainder of the season back in January with the aim of keeping Palace in the top-flight, and he was pleased that his current side clinched another shock victory on Sunday afternoon.
Speaking post-match, he said: “We are very happy obviously. That was our goal when we set foot on the pitch. We need all the points we can get to be sure to stay in the Premier League - that is our mission. That is why I accepted the challenge with Palace, and we need to be the best we can as a team to succeed.”
Two goals from another man with Liverpool connections in Christian Benteke sealed the win for Sam Allardyce’s side, and after netting the equaliser the Belgian celebrated with Sakho on the sidelines. The centre-back admits he was hesitant at first out of respect for the Reds, but wanted to congratulate his friend and teammate.
“When Christian scored, I stayed seated as I didn't want to celebrate by respect for the club to which I belong and the fans,” the Frenchman said. “But when he came over to me, I stood up and did what we always do as friends... our hand check.
“There was nothing behind it, nothing else to imply by it. Just two friends who are playing for the same team and who have the same goal, which is to get the three points at each game to make sure the team stays in the Premier League. If we were losing 2-0 and Christian reduced the score, we would have also done it if he came to me. I still hope Liverpool qualify for the Champions League at the end of the season, and wish them luck."
The big games come thick and fast for Palace, who will be able to call upon Sakho again on Wednesday night when Tottenham Hotspur come to town, and he is relishing the prospect of going up against one of the Premier League’s giants again as they aim to secure safety.
Evaluating his side’s chances of doing that, he added: “Let's think about next week first and the game against Tottenham. There are still five games left before the end of the season. We need to concentrate on each game and focus on all the points we can get.”