• Date: Sat 03 December 2016
  • Kick-off: 15:00
  • Venue: Selhurst Park

Crystal Palace vs Southampton

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Crystal Palace


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Alan Pardew summons players to Selhurst Park for additional hour's training

Alan Pardew summoned his players to Selhurst Park for an additional hour's training on Friday morning in an attempt to solve the "crisis" of Crystal Palace's poor form.

The Eagles host Southampton in the Premier League on Saturday, when a seventh straight defeat could cost the manager his job, but Pardew insists he can sense a "determination" to end that run.

He met club chairman Steve Parish earlier this week, when he also said he sought no assurances regarding his position, and has asked for his players' views on the weaknesses they need to improve on to rescue their season.

Asked if he had been told he needs to inspire a win against Saints to keep his job, Pardew said: "No, but I'm a realist. I understand the situation with the Premier League.

"I have to make sure the next result is a positive one for us. I have to get results.

"I've only ever asked for assurances on one occasion, when Joe Kinnear came in (as director of football) at Newcastle. This is a high-profile job. I'm proud of the job. I understand the feelings of our fans.

"For them, I want to get a result on Saturday. I don't look for reassurances going forward.

"The chairman and the board here have been fantastically supportive. This is a crisis, a kind of mini crisis, at the moment given the work they've done. We have to get past this period.

"I sense that determination at the training ground."

Pardew is expected to revert to a 4-3-3 formation and recall Andros Townsend for Southampton's visit after Connor Wickham's anterior cruciate ligament injury.

Wickham had successful surgery on his knee ligaments earlier this week and Pardew must also juggle the absences of Steve Mandanda, who requires knee surgery that will rule him out for the coming four-to-six weeks, and Yohan Cabaye (suspension).

Pape Souare (broken thigh bone) and Loic Remy (calf) remain a long-term absentees but there could be a recall for the fit-again Joe Ledley.

Claude Puel has insisted he is fully prepared for Southampton's busy winter schedule despite this season being his first in English football.

The manager is also confident that it is over the coming weeks that the strengths of his rotation system will be demonstrated.

Southampton on Saturday visit Palace in what represents their fourth fixture amid a run of eight in 25 days. They have continued to balance the intense demands of the league season with competing in the Europa League, and reaching the EFL Cup semi-finals.

As he did for Wednesday's victory over Arsenal from Sunday's over Everton, Puel is again expected to make numerous changes to his starting XI on Saturday at Selhurst Park. He is adamant, however, that the English winter is little different from what he has already experienced in France.

"I have the habits with many seasons to train or to play every three days with all my clubs, except Nice," said the 55-year-old, who has also managed Lyon, Lille and Monaco. "It was all the time opportunities to play every three days and for me it's a good thing.

"I prefer to play every three days (than) to prepare one week (for) the next game.

"The players like this also. They prefer playing different games than making training sessions every time."

Southampton remain without long-term absentee Matt Targett, and Dusan Tadic owing to a nose injury, for Saturday's fixture.

Tadic has been forced to wear a mask during training, but Puel's consistent rotating means he will have numerous alternative creative midfielders to select in a team where only goalkeeper Fraser Forster, Virgil van Dijk and Oriol Romeu almost always start.

"I hope we can have the (physical) benefits of this rotation; also during this difficult period to (continue achieving) good results and good performances on the pitch," said Puel.

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