Wayne Hennessey believes that confidence-filled Palace will head to Stamford Bridge tomorrow hoping to spring a surprise against the league leaders Chelsea.
Having not conceded in his last three games, the Eagles keeper feels that this is the right time to face the Blues, despite them seemingly nailed-on to lift another Premier League title come May, and having got some momentum behind them Hennessey believes that his team are eyeing successive wins in west London following last season’s 2-1 win.
Ahead of the game, he said: “They’re flying but it’ll be a good game. We’ve played there a few times and won there last season so it’ll be a fantastic game to watch but hopefully we can get a win and a clean sheet.
“A couple of wins and clean sheets gives everyone a massive boost, and we’re going there really high and trying to get three points. We always play quite well against the teams that are above us rather than in-and-around us in the table, but hopefully that might work in our favour. These are the games that you want to play in and everyone will be fit and ready to play.
“Diego [Costa] punished us last time we played [at Selhurst] but we’ll try and keep him as quiet as possible, but it’s not just about keeping him quiet but the rest of the team as well too. They’re playing really well but hopefully we can cause an upset and try and break them down. We need to keep ourselves nice and solid and compact and try and keep them quiet.”
Things have picked up for the Eagles over the past month with three wins on the trot, and the Welshman feels that the hard work put in on the training ground is the main reason behind the recent revival.
Some new faces on and off the field have also helped build confidence and momentum, and Hennessey is now hoping to keep that going to aid Palace’s survival hopes despite the tough task facing them in the former of Antonio Conte’s runaway leaders.
“Certain players have come in and settled really well, and clean sheets are coming quite quickly at the moment so hopefully they can continue,” he added. “ If you’re a striker and you keep scoring goals then your confidence will boost, and if you keep clean sheets then it work for defenders just the same.
“On the training ground we’ve been doing a lot of defending set-pieces and just being difficult to beat. It’s nice to go through routines and we know what we’re doing throughout the week now; most of it is defending and we spend a little bit of attack too, but at the end of the day we want to keep clean sheets as that is what will keep us in this league.”