Palace's away defeat at United back in September was Roy Hodgson's third Premier League match in charge of the Eagles, but the boss is pleased with the progress since then.
Looking back on the time that has passed since two heavy defeats in Manchester at the hands of both City and United, Hodgson has been encouraged by the way his squad have turned their season around.
"What I didn’t know at that stage was that we could come from seven games, no points, no goals and plenty of goals against, basically eight points of being outside the relegation zone, that the team would work so hard and rally round to, up and until two or three weeks ago, get us two or three points clear of the relegation zone. That is a very positive thing which has happened and that is certainly one thing I couldn’t predict after losing 5-0 at Manchester City and then 4-0 at Manchester United.
"There is no doubt that as a group these players have made big strides forward and worked very hard to become a better football team and a harder team to beat. I certainly feel more confident going into this game on Monday night, despite the fact that we have quite a few players I would have liked to have seen in the squad still missing, that we can give a better account of ourselves than we were able to do at Old Trafford," Hodgson said at his pre-match press conference at Selhurst Park on Thursday afternoon.
"It is a difficult fixture list coming up for us and we are facing that with a few players who don’t have an awful lot of experience at this level of football and one or two who are bedding in so its a question of us trying to do what we have tried to do in the last couple of games, not least of all on Sunday against Tottenham Hotspur and work as hard as we possibly can to keep our opponents at bay while accepting they may have the lion's share of possession of the ball."
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