Silva | “One More Challenge For Us”
Marco Silva was relegated the last time he took a side to Crystal Palace. How times change. Now he takes his new progressive top-nine side to Selhurst Park tomorrow night looking for them to reload and go again after a tough-to-swallow defeat at Burnley on Saturday.
The Golden Boys are smarting from what happened at Burnley, believing they were well in the game when the match was even-steven. Silva felt the result would have been different had it remained 11 vs 11. The Head Coach is now looking for a response, similar to the one his side produced against West Ham after the unfathomable defeat at Everton.
But it won’t be easy. Silva needs no reminding of the threat the Eagles pose as virtually the same group of Palace players thrashed his Hull side 4-0 in the penultimate game of last season, relegating the Tigers to the Championship. That’s now water under the bridge. The Head Coach is interested in milestones not millstones.
“It was a different game, a different team and a different season,” said Silva. “Our goal is to get a different result.”
He wants to write a new script this time but he’s mindful of Palace’s mini resurgence under Roy Hodgson, aware of the five-match unbeaten run they’ve put together. There will be no easy pickings on offer at the league’s bottom club.
“It will be a tough match,” said Silva. “They have improved since Hodgson arrived, the quality of the football as well. The quality they have in the squad didn’t reflect in the table. This is clear. They stay last in the table but quality in the squad didn’t reflect how they can play in the attack line.
“They have big quality in the attack line and in Milivojević they have one player who I know very well [from our time at Olympiacos]. In one moment they can solve the solution. But we go there to compete, to take a good result. It’s one more challenge for us.”
Tuesday night’s game once again pitches the Hornets against Wilfried Zaha, the forward who has so often been their nemesis.
“We need to be careful with him,” said Silva. “He’s a good player, a player with very good talents. We’ll pay attention to Zaha, to Townsend, to Loftus-Cheek like Palace will pay attention to Richarlison, Deeney, Gray, Carrillo and Pereyra. What I hope is that the referee pays the same attention to Richarlison as he pays to Zaha.”
The Golden Boys are now deep into a spell of eight league matches in 31 days, a spell that will test the depth of the squad and its resourcefulness. It will be Silva’s first taste of English football at Christmas.
“It’s a tough month for everyone,” said Silva. “But it’s one month to enjoy, with lots of games to play and an important moment of the year. We will think in the same way, training by training session, game by game.
“We don’t have a lot of time to prepare and the weather really doesn’t help us to work. It’s hard to recover players and get everyone at a good level but we need to respect the schedule.”
The Golden Boys have earned plenty of respect themselves, particularly on the back of their away form which has helped establish them as a top-ten side and one of the most dangerous sides on the road.
“We deserve the credit we have because we perform well, even if we didn’t achieve results we want. [at Chelsea, at Everton and at Burnley]. We need to learn every day with some things we are doing, but we are working to achieve our goal. We are here to make players better day by day. It is our obligation.”