Roy Hodgson is adamant Crystal Palace do not need convincing they can succeed against Tottenham, despite having just witnessed them outclassing European champions Real Madrid.
While bottom of the Premier League table with the division’s worst defensive record – something which owed much to a lack of confidence – they have improved since Hodgson’s appointment and he insists they are not overwhelmed by the challenge Spurs present.
In Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Hugo Lloris and Christian Eriksen, they possess some of Europe’s finest players whose self-belief contributed to Wednesday’s defeat of Real, which Hodgson was at Wembley to witness.
Real also last season became the first ever team to retain the Champions League title, and Palace are without injured record signing Christian Benteke, but Hodgson said: “I don’t need to convince them.
“There is no doubt Tottenham were great. They might be at different ends of the table, but (my squad) are still proud of their abilities.
“It just happens to be a game where we are going to be put to a bigger test than maybe we were before because Spurs have some exceptional players.
“They won’t go into the game thinking they are chanceless; there’s no way that is going to happen. If it turns out that they are too good for us like Manchester City and Manchester United we will hold our hands up.
“But we won’t go onto that field thinking they are too good for us to play against. We will go thinking we are going to beat these, and let’s see what happens.
“If players allow themselves to listen to all the noise on social media and from TV pundits they will be affected. But the bottom line is that when we cross that line on Sunday there is nothing to stop our players doing all the things they’re capable of.”
Today’s fixture represents Hodgson’s first in a competitive capacity at the national stadium since his resignation from the England job, and he has already spoken of the threat posed by Alli and Kane.
The former scored twice in the defeat of Real, and not only does the 70-year-old already believe him to be one of Europe’s leading midfielders, but that there remains more to come.
“I was talking to Alex Ferguson and he said this guy can be one of the best midfielders in Europe,” said Hodgson, who again has Mamadou Sakho and James McArthur in contention but considers Patrick van Aanholt a doubt.
“I don’t like to put pressure on the young man but there’s no doubt he’s at the top. If you talk about the top midfielders in Europe he would be in the reckoning, and he’s still only 21, hasn’t got 200 games behind him, hasn’t got 50 caps. The more he goes on is when we’ll see him get really better.
“There will have been offers (from big clubs) already. Tottenham won’t want to let him go and it would only be one of the top echelon of clubs who could even consider buying him.”