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First Team

James McArthur On Facing Dwight Gayle

3 February 2018

Sunday’s game against Newcastle sees Palace in a different frame of mind from when they played the reverse fixture in October, just three points had been registered at that stage but the turnaround in form has seen the side suffer just two defeats in the last 14 matches.

James McArthur has experienced so much since pulling on the red and blue shirt for the first time in 2014 and is not surprised that the players have responded in such fine style to the start of the season.

“It’s been a big turnaround but we knew we could do that because we have done it in previous years and know we have the players to do it but it’s about getting the best out of the team and making us more solid.

“The manager has made us more solid and normally when you do that you lose that attacking flair but we haven’t. We have such good players going forward that we look solid but with a good threat and that makes for a very good balance.

“A lot of people would have found it hard to believe, it’s amazing where we are right now but the hard work starts here now as we need to keep going and pushing up that table to get away from that bottom three."

This weekend’s opponents are one of last season’s promoted teams who are battling for every point to ensure they extend their stay in the top flight.  The Scotland international is an admirer of the strength in the Magpies side and is fully aware of one of the threats the home side will have to stop.

“They have a lot of quality throughout the side and obviously we know about Dwight Gayle and we need to make sure, if he is playing, we keep him quiet. He is deadly in front of goal so we don’t him to come back and haunt us.

“The league is so competitive and the teams that have come up have been very good and even though they may have struggled of late if you said to their managers 'this is where you will be', I think a lot of them would have taken it at this stage. 

“They are good side but every team in the league has good players and we need to be on our game to get three points and need to keep playing with confidence and obviously stop their main players."

After Sunday’s match the month of February doesn’t get any easier with matches to come against Everton and Tottenham but the Eagles midfielder doesn’t believe that you can single any games out in this tough league and concentration for the players should be on what they need to achieve.   

"We have a really tough run coming up but every single game in this league is tough and like ourselves other teams around us are capable of going and beating the top teams so you have to treat each one with the same respect.

“If you look at the table it is so tight so it’s about us now making sure that we keep doing the right things."

Watch the full interview on Palace TV or if you’re viewing in the club’s official app, simply head to Palace TV on the bottom menu.

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