Palace have gradually improved
It must have been an odd start to the season for the Crystal Palace team.
September 25th, 2014
Having gone through a vigorous and intensive pre-season under Tony Pulis the players found themselves without a manager only two days before the new campaign commenced. All those plans and ideas for the season suddenly up in smoke, and uncertainty surrounding their futures.
The most effective players always seem relaxed. They don’t seem to suffer from anxiety before games, and are able to perform remarkable feats of skill to a consistently high level. The ability to produce these moments are of course a result of thousands of hours of practice, but it is the confident and focused mind that produces the best in an athlete. After a wonderful end to the Premier League season last time round, confidence was high and expectation round the club was positive.
With an away fixture to Arsenal first up the dressing room would have been a very strange place to be. There were players like Brede Hangeland and Martin Kelly who had signed for the club in order to play for Pulis. Suddenly he was gone and the ability to produce good performances in far from ideal situations is always tough. There are of course also the personal implications a departing manager can have on a squad, which can have positive and negative repercussions.
As a result the season began slowly in terms of points won but fortunately the players maintained the levels of performance they showed only a few months ago. Unfortunately it took until the end of August to pick up the first point of the campaign but since then the club have picked up a further four points from their two games.
It has clearly taken time for the players to adjust to what has happened. The new manager, Neil Warnock, did not leave the club in the most inconspicuous of ways last time and doubts will have remained. However, with the huge win over Everton last weekend it appears that both he and the players are beginning to gel and find their feet.
It is not only in sport that change can be difficult. It requires time and patience for everything to fall into place but ‘time’ is not something usually afforded to people involved in football. The last couple of months have certainly been a little rocky for Crystal Palace but with some added confidence the side should now be able to kick on. There is a lot of quality in the squad and if Warnock can get the best out of them then Palace will pick up many more points.