Martin Kelly has spoken with talkSPORT ahead of Crystal Palace's clash with Manchester City today, praising the league champions and saying that his Eagles side are 'right up for the challenge'.
Kelly previewed the game and explained how matches change when playing clubs from the top six of the table, suggesting that what is done with the ball in the face of inferior possession becomes even more crucial, especially for a side such as Palace who often see less of the play than their opponent.
He said: "I think the top teams when you play them you have to go in with massive respect for them and understand that they will have all the ball even if you’re playing at home. Sometimes against those top teams it’s tough and when you do regain the ball you’ve got to use it well.
"It’s where you keep the ball and how many chances you create at the end of the day. If you just keep the ball in your own half for most of the game and not get behind defenders and create chances then nine times out of 10 you’re not going to win the game.
"We’ve got really good attacking force in our team that when we create chances something usually comes of it - the ‘keeper’s making a save or we’re getting a corner. You see with Wilf at the minute he’s getting penalties because of how good he is in the box. It’s tough for the opposition and I don’t think we mind not having the majority of possession in games, you just use the ball to your advantage when you have it."
As a member of the Palace squad, Kelly is well placed to explain how to overcome a side wielding the abilities of City, with Palace just one of four teams to have done so in the league this season.
It was back in December that the Eagles recorded their respective victory over Pep Guardiola's men, and Kelly suggested it gave the south Londoners a huge, much needed boost.
"I think the game at the Etihad was a fantastic game for the players and the club as a whole. It was great to have the victory up there and we got massive confidence as you will do from that game. Going into the game at home we understand how good City are along with all the other top sides in the Premier League. It’s going to be really tough but we look forward to that challenge as we do playing in such a good league."
That afternoon, Andros Townsend stole the headlines with a thunderous effort from 30-yards and he didn't let his teammates forget about it in a hurry...
"We got a lot of it off him after the game for a good couple of weeks! Fair play to him, he scored a wonder-goal and it’s not like that every day in training, let me tell you. He deserves our Goal of the Season for sure."
And despite the challenge that the Citizens will bring to Selhurst, Kelly ended his interview with a set of positives...
He said: "You only have to listen to when Pep talks about coming to Selhurst. It’s a smaller pitch than what they’re used to up at the Etihad. We understand all their players, we’re watching them so much because we analyse them so much because they’re top players.
"It’s good to see your opponent, know so much about them and pay them the respect they deserve. We understand this will be a really difficult game but you look at our squad now, how we’re feeling at the minute: we’re right up for the challenge.
"We know that those sort of games rile our fans and they love making a racket in these top games so it’s going to be amazing playing in front of them and giving our all and giving the fans what they want coming to Selhurst. They want us to play good football and create chances and hopefully for it to be an exciting game for them."