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First Team

Tomkins: It's a massive step forward

24 February 2019

James Tomkins was part of a back line that produced a solid defensive display to help the side pick up three points on the road as they stretched their unbeaten run to four top flight games.

With Palace taking their place in the late kick-off they were aware that there had been a mixed bag of results for them in other games already played over the weekend but the Palace defender said the squad were focussed on the job in hand.

“It’s massive,  you see other results come in from games taking place at other times when you play at 5.30pm on a Saturday but it’s important that you don’t pay interest to those and just do our bit on the field. It was a hard game, it always is playing Leicester away but we put on another great performance, which we normally do against them of late, it was nice to see us finish our chances which we haven’t done much this year and put away the teams that we have been playing. Tonight was the night we did that, so brilliant.”

Tomkins saw a change alongside him during the victory when Mamadou Sakho limped off in the second half and had to be replaced by Scott Dann.

“You are obviously worried when you see him go down because Mama is a good player for us and an important one but we had Scott Dann to come in, he uses his experience and its nice playing alongside him but let’s hope Mama is ok,” said Tomkins as he reflected on being named man of the match by the judging panel during the live broadcast of the game on BT Sport.  

“They probably gave it to me before Wilf scored his second goal! but I’ll take it. It’s always going to be hard playing up against their forward line with players like (Jamie) Vardy who are very sharp so it was important we stayed on our game.  When you come here and keep them quiet in the first fifteen or twenty minutes, get the crowd on their backs and that’s massive for us and we managed to do that today and I thought it was a great team performance.”

The Eagles broke the deadlock five minutes before the break when Michy Batshuayi put his effort past Kasper Schmeichel but even though the visitors went in ahead at the break there were some changes made in the dressing room during the interval, which Tomkins explained post-match.

“Our formation in the first half didn’t work to our favour as they had a lot of the ball and were finding easy passes  so we had to stop that second half and  changed a few things so put Wilf and Andros marking their full backs.  That changed the game in a way because we were able to use their pace in the counter attack and that is when we play some of our best football and it was nice to win and a comfortable one in the end.”

Attention now turns to Wednesday night’s game against Manchester United as they continue to look up the table and the 29 year-old is hoping Roy Hodgson’s form can continue their good form of late.

“They are a different team at the minute so we know it’s going to be tough game, they have a game on Sunday so we have another day of recovery, if that makes a difference, it probably does. We need to be on our game and it’s a massive step forward in terms of our points and getting to that target we were talking about at the start of the season about a mid-table position, our goal difference is very good and hopefully we can put a good performance in on Wednesday.”

For the rest of the post-match reaction, head over to Palace TV now, where there are interviews, full highlights and a few stand-out moments all for free. If you're reading on the app, just click 'Palace TV'.

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