The long season is now down to the final nine games with Palace heading to Chelsea on Saturday evening, and Patrick Van Aanholt is someone who has experience of these nerve-tingling matches when the stakes are high in the battle to retain top-flight status.
Last May many members of the current squad came through the battle of last year’s relegation scrap, but the Eagles defender also has memories of a nervous end of season experience from his final campaign at Sunderland.
“We are confident, we have been there last year and I have been in this situation three times in a row from when I was at Sunderland so I know what you have to do," he said. "I am confident we will survive this year; we have a strong team and it’s about picking up points now.”
This week it has been back to the training ground following the defeat on Monday evening against Manchester United but the squad must soon put that disappointment behind them as they prepare for the trip to west London.
“It stays in the head for 24 hours and then you have to move onto the next game, afterwards," the left-back said. "It was not a great mood having lost in the last minute but we move on, have trained this week and now prepare for Chelsea on Saturday.”
The defender’s goal just three minutes after half-time looked to have set the home side up for their first Premier League victory against the Red Devils, but delight soon turned to heartbreak against the second-placed side.
“It felt great to score against Manchester United to put us 2-0 up, and I was thinking there was no way we are going to lose this game now as we were defending very well but still lost in the last minute," he added.
"It was a good performance; I think we did very well up until around 65 minutes when they scored a goal and made a couple of changes, changed the team and shape and after that they started to put a bit more pressure on, but we showed quality against a top team. This was after beating Chelsea at home earlier in the season and only losing to Tottenham in the last minute, but we have showed we are capable of beating the big teams.”
The Eagles' first victory of the season came at the Blues' expense on a memorable October afternoon. As both teams go into the reverse fixture this Saturday, Chelsea sit in fifth place looking to close the gap on the top four in the chase for points at the other end of the table to Palace's relegation scrap.
“The team is confident and we have trained well today ahead of Chelsea, and we go there with the same mentality as we did against Manchester United so we must go there and play our game and see what happens.
“You always want to win and you always want to beat the champions, and like I say we need the points and it is time to get them now. They are in a similar situation because if they are going to qualify for the Champions League they need the points as well, so it will be a tough game.”
Van Aanholt spent five years at the west London club and it’s a period of time that gives him fond memories. “I learnt a lot there from a young kid to the player I am today. It’s a great club and fantastic facilities, the training ground is unbelievable but personally looking back everything about my time there was great.”
Whatever the outcome of Saturday evening’s match the drama of the relegation battle will be just as intense as Palace face games against fellow rivals, Huddersfield Town, Bournemouth and Stoke City in the run-in. The 27-year-old is confident that the squad have the vital ingredient of belief as the closest relegation contest ever enters the final straight.
“There are lots of team that are close to us so anything can happen. If you win you are out of the relegation zone, but if you lose we are still in it but the teams around us need to drop points. From our point of view we know we need the points and if we get them we will be safe
“The belief has always got to be there. We have to believe we can beat Chelsea and we can be the best but we just need to show that on the field. We train with each other every day so we know what we are capable of doing, and we know we can do it and have the players so we just need to show it.”