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Derby shackle the wingers but the Palace spine stands strong
Table-topping Crystal Palace stretched their unbeaten run to 14 games on Saturday with a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Derby County at Selhurst Park.
Two goals from top scorer Glenn Murray and one from Brazilian midfielder Andre Moritz were enough to dispatch the Rams in a game which showed a different side to Ian Holloway’s side.
The Eagles have become known for their flare on the wings but with England international Wilfried Zaha being shackled by two or three markers at any one time, Palace took advantage of the extra space and showed their power through the middle.
Man-of-the-match Moritz explained: “When you have a special player like that who has so many qualities, moves and tricks, then two or three players will have to go across to mark him and so the rest of us need to find the gaps and the free pockets to take advantage of that.
“It worked well today.”
The victory was Holloway’s third straight win since taking over from Dougie Freedman.
And while the new boss has not made big changes to an already winning team, he has already started putting his stamp on the group according to Moritz, who has certainly come to prominence since Holloway took control.
The 25-year-old said: “The way the new gaffer treated us when he arrived was fantastic.
“He told me he had seen me before and really liked the way I play and so when I got my opportunity, I had to grab it and I did.
“The gaffer has asked me to come to the ball a bit more and not only play in the pockets.
“He brings some different things to the table and I think we can really improve ourselves going forward.”
This has been the Eagles’ best start to a campaign since the 1993/94 season which saw them promoted to the Premier League as champions, but the club’s current crop are not thinking too far ahead just yet.
Moritz added: “When we step on that field for 90 minutes, we give it everything to try to win even in the last minute we will still be fighting and would die for each other on the pitch.
“It feels nice to be top of the league but we know that when you are top of the league, everybody wants to beat you.
“So we know we need to keep working hard and take every game step by step because there are a lot of games left.”
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