Gary Issott addresses the squad in a pre-match meeting, using Palace's history to inspire the lads.
"Listen," he says, "you’ve made yourselves the underdogs this morning, which this football club has thrived on. I love being the underdog. I love proving people wrong. And that’s what we’ve got to do this morning.
"Everyone in this tournament is questioning you. You’ve got to go out there. You either shrink or you stick your chest out and go and front it. I expect us to perform better than yesterday. Do you know what a winner is? It’s a loser that don’t give up.
"Every time in your a career as a coach or a player, you’re going to get beat, you’re going to lose and it’s how hard you come back. When you get knocked down, you get back up again. We got knocked down yesterday, we got to get back up and go again. Because that’s what winners do."
Words of encouragement from an Academy Director with over 15 years of experience go a long way, and, in between games against Excelsior Rotterdam and Hapoel Beer-Sheva, TQ Addy and Brandon Pierrick open up on just how significant the Academy coaches' support is.
Pierrick begins: "In the Under-15s/U16s we were really pushing our luck with coaches. We had been warned and we sort of brushed up our act very quick because there was stuff being said that wasn’t really what we wanted to hear.
"We had to brush up quite quickly and we did that quite well. I think it helps us because it’s the truth and the truth isn’t meant to be sweet. So it helps you, it helps you a lot."
Addy concurs, saying: "If they didn’t tell us and let us carry on how we were behaving at Under-15s/U16s now, you wouldn’t be able to get through. We still had a bit of ability on the ball which is why they stuck with us but if we didn’t do the other side of the game, we wouldn’t be able to play at the higher level.
"I’m glad that we had those things when we were younger because even though we didn’t like it at the time, and we probably had a bit of a grudge about them saying it, in the long run I can see how it has benefited us."
"What T said," Pierrick adds in conclusion, "if they didn’t tell us and we carried on going how we were going, I don’t think we’d be here right now. Them sticking with us and telling us the truth, it’s helped us to get here. I’m not saying we’ve got anywhere but we’re on a steady road now."
See how the lads overcame the disappointment of the first day in Israel with episode two below! And stay tuned for episode three tomorrow, when the team encounter Avram Grant, Steve Parish congratulates their efforts and the Eagles pull off a striking comeback worthy of an impressive final position.
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