Despite acknowledging that the scorelines in pre-season don’t matter too much, Jason Puncheon has admitted that it would be a huge boost to the Palace squad if they could reach the Premier League Asia Trophy final by beating Liverpool on Wednesday.
The Eagles midfielder has many happy memories of playing the Reds with Palace gaining some memorable victories against the Merseysiders over the past three seasons, and despite taking them on in warm-up action ahead of the 2017/18 campaign, Puncheon is eyeing a positive result to show that Frank de Boer’s new approach has plenty of early promise.
Just after landing in Hong Kong ahead of the tournament, he said: “Pre-season isn’t about results but we all want to win, and when we turn up on Wednesday we will all want to do that. Fundamentally the most important thing is gaining fitness and understanding the football side of what you’re trying to put out on the pitch. We’re looking forward to the game and hopefully we can get some goals.
“We want to try and take a lot of confidence in what we’re trying to do and how we’re trying to play. The message is clear and we’re still trying to absorb that but the last two weeks has been brilliant; everyone has taken it on board and hopefully we can show that this week.
“We’ve got a chance to play against two Premier League teams and after that week you can come away and say that you’ve got some minutes learning what we’re trying to put out on the pitch.”
De Boer has only had a few weeks to instil his footballing philosophy into the Palace squad, but Puncheon has been impressed with the results so far. Built upon a solid backline, the new plan pleases the Croydon native, and he is confident it will pay dividends for the Eagles this term.
“The key element is the basis which is on defending, the shape and the way we want to play, and we need to make sure we get that right which we’ve worked a lot on since he’s come in,” Puncheon added. “We’re starting with the best part which is defending; everyone wants to attack obviously but we’ve got to start from a basis.
“There is a different dynamic with someone like Frank in charge. His playing history and what he’s done in his managerial career will increase expectations but we set that and then it is down to us on the pitch.
“If you had said that Crystal Palace would be in the Premier League for five years and in the fifth they would have a manager like Frank de Boer, you would have snatched their hand off. Everyone just has to buy into it and look forward to the start of the season.”