LONDON: Alan Pardew claimed Crystal Palace were inspired by the spirit of 1990 as they beat Watford 2-1 to set up an FA Cup final revenge mission against Manchester United.
Pardew scored the winning goal when Palace shocked Liverpool in the cup semi-final 26 years ago and the Eagles manager leaned heavily on that famous win to mastermind the South Londoners’ success at Wembley on Sunday.
After inspiring his players earlier in the week with a motivational talk about the 1990 run, which ended in a final replay defeat against United, Pardew also reached back into the archives for a set-piece routine used by then boss Steve Coppell.
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A back-flicked header by Andy Thorn from a corner led to Pardew’s headed winner against Liverpool.
And Palace deployed the same tactic to create the opening goal in the sixth minute against Watford when Damien Delaney headed on Yohan Cabaye’s corner for Yannick Bolasie to nod home.
“We did pay homage to that side with the flicked on corner. Sometimes history does repeat itself,” he said.
The disappointment of Troy Deeney’s 55th minute equaliser couldn’t shake Palace’s belief they would return to the final for the first time since the golden days of Ian Wright and Mark Bright and they won it in the 61st minute through Connor Wickham’s towering header.
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“We have a similar side to 1990 in terms of the characteristics; diligent, hardworking and a bit of pace on the attack,” he said. “I’m pleased for the players. They have an honesty about them.”
Now Pardew will focus on building a game plan to beat under-fire Louis van Gaal’s United and avenge Palace’s 1990 loss to the Old Trafford outfit, which went a long way to saving then manager Alex Ferguson’s job.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 26th, 2016.
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