Eagles boss confident players more than motivated ahead of Charlton derby
DOUGIE Freedman believes his Crystal Palace players don’t need any extra motivation just because they are playing Charlton in a televised derby tomorrow night.
The Eagles know a hostile reception is guaranteed tomorrow night from Charlton fans still furious about the controversial ground share at Selhurst Park between 1985 to 1991.
Freedman appreciates the significance attached to the derby by both sets of supporters but is confident Palace can thrive in the atmosphere.
He said: “Of course I can understand it because football is a very passionate sport and there will be a very passionate crowd tomorrow, as there always is in local derbies.
“My team are fully aware of what is at stake and my team are fully aware they’ve got to go into the game with a controlled aggression that will make sure they are not intimidated in the first period of the game, but also make sure that their football will come through and win on the night.
“I’d like to think my players are motivated within.
“I think it is not a situation just because it is Charlton and they are on the TV they will turn up and perform.
“I’d like to think the kind of characters we’ve got in the squad the motivation would come within them.”
Freedman added: “We are well prepared, we are all looking forward to the game, we just need to make sure we turn up with the right attitude and we can choose that attitude.
“We can choose what way we turn up and I believe we will turn up in the right frame of mind to go and win the game.
“I see this as a game which has come at the right time for us and come in the right way as well with the new signings and everybody now back fully fit.
“We’ve got Glenn Murray and Jonny Williams pretty much in peak condition so it is a game I believe we can go and win if the right frame of mind is there.
“We showed last year against the West Hams, Millwalls and the Brightons that we can handle the occasions and pick the right teams for the right occasions.
“There is no evidence to show that we won’t do that again.”
Freedman scored in the 2-2 draw at The Valley which saw the Eagles relegated from the Premier League on the final day of the 2004/05 season but denied every Charlton v Palace game since has had an extra edge because of what happened that day.
“No, because if you are asking that question to 20,000 different fans you are always going to get different answers back,” he explained.
“At the end of the day it will be a local derby.
“I don’t think too many fans these days look back, they are always trying to look forward, which is a good thing – looking forward to a game on Friday night, which is how it should be.
“What’s gone in the past is gone.
“We’ve won a few games, they’ve won a few games and it doesn’t really concern me.
“The circumstances were different when we last played, it is all about Friday night.
“I’m really looking forward to it, it is on the TV, it is set up for a good match and it is one I can certainly tell you my players are really looking forward to.
“They got the win last week, which I thought they deserved to win, we’ve got a few new signings and a few fresh faces, people are looking stronger for the three or four games they’ve played in and we are really looking forward to this match.”
Freedman will be joined in the away dugout tomorrow night by his assistant Lennie Lawrence, the former Charlton manager during that turbulent six-year exile at Selhurst for the Addicks.
The Palace boss revealed Lawrence has not discussed his previous association with tomorrow’s opponents in the run up to the derby.
“He is a Charlton legend but he hasn’t really mentioned it because we are trying to take this game as just another game in terms of preparation,” said Freedman.
“It has been a long time since Lennie has been there.
“I think he understands the Charlton fans from many years ago but it is a new generation with a new stadium.
“Although there is one or two wee things which Lennie has pointed out - which we will keep private - I think we are just approaching it in the way that it is another game that we’ve got to prepare in the best possible way for.”
And Freedman reiterated his long held view about the importance of Lawrence’s input since he became manager in early 2011.
“It is vital,” he said.
“I’ve always said it is the best signing for this club.
“Not only has he helped myself, he has helped other coaches underneath me and he has helped the club in terms of the direction he believes it should go.
“His input from top to bottom has been fantastic for us but at the end of the day we are in a results business and his mind is always set on trying to get three points and help me, the coaching staff and the players to get those three points.”
Follow us on Twitter @NewsShopperSprt