Alan Pardew believes Crystal Palace’s performance in their late defeat to Manchester City was testament to their improvement.
Pardew expressed his pride after watching his side, who entered the game in second place behind City in the Premier League table, push Manuel Pellegrini’s men to their limits.
Kelechi Iheanacho was the hero for the visitors, but Pardew says that although Palace won the last meeting between the two sides back in April, their performance at Selhurst Park on Saturday was more indicative of a much-improved side.
“It is hard to take but it’s football, they kept us at bay in the second-half and did a better job on us,” Pardew said. “I’m very proud of the performance we put in, when we beat them last year it wasn’t as good as this, it wasn’t as close as this. Sometimes the goals can mask the game.
“This one was really tight, first vs. second game – that’s what it looked like from the sidelines. It was a great performance from us and obviously at the end to suffer that type of goal means we are all really hurting.”
Pardew also reserved praise for the sell-out home crowd, with the manager hoping to make Selhurst Park a “fortress” before long.
“I must give our fans a special mention, what an atmosphere we create here. You have to take your hat off to our fans, it was brilliant.
“We’ve got exciting players and they had their moments, the lads got the crowd going and our fans never disappoint.
“You’re talking about world-class players on the pitch for Man City so we’ve taken a step forward and we need to stay there, even though we’ve suffered the disappointment of that goal. But we’ll get over it and we’ll bounce back.
“We’ve had tough games at home. It’s not really the ideal start to make your place a fortress but it will become one. This team is going to win a lot of games here, I have no doubt about that.”