Eagles boss happy to have closed quality gap on Clarets
DOUGIE Freedman believes it is a sign of just how far Palace have progressed during his managerial reign they can fancy their chances against Burnley on Saturday.
The Scot was barely three months into his new job as manager in March 2011 when he took his side to Turf Moor for a game they lost 1-0.
Jay Rodriguez scored an early winner but Freedman accepts the score flattered Palace so dominant were the Clarets on the day.
But as the current form side in the Championship, it is the Eagles who will be considered favourites going into this weekend’s meeting at Selhurst Park and Freedman believes that favourite tag isn’t misleading.
He said: “We played Burnley a couple of years ago when I first took over and I thought the difference in quality was huge.
“They had a strong team and we done well only to be beat 1-0.
“But 18 months later I think we’ve come a long way, I think we will be a match not only for Burnley but for most teams in this division.
“If I’m to measure myself up against Burnley from the last 18 months I think we’ve come a long way.
“We can now honestly say it is going to be a difficult match but a match I think we can certainly take something from.
“Burnley are a very good team on their day but we feel if we can get our game plan right and tactical knowledge onto the field then we’ve got people in our team who can win the match and also people who can defend very well.”
However, if Palace are to get something from the game Freedman knows the one man they need to keep quite is Burnley goal machine Charlie Austin.
It may only be the first week in October but Austin already has 14 goals to his name from 11 games, with three of that impressive tally coming from Tuesday’s 3-3 draw against Sheffield Wednesday.
The Palace players are in no doubt what they will have to do to keep the striker quiet, as their manager explained.
“Of course you concentrate on him because he is a goal scorer,” said Freedman.
“I know Charlie very well, he is one of these players you need to be focused in on for 93 or 94 minutes of the game because he only takes part in the game in the box and is a box player.
“We’ve got to make sure we are concentrating throughout the game and make sure we keep a clean sheet no matter what we do at the other end.
“It is the key to our results. If we can get back to clean sheets I believe this season we’ve got the capability to score at the other end.
“We will work very hard and we’ve already had one or two videos on Charlie been shown to the players.
“We will make sure they know exactly how many hours sleep he gets on Friday - that’s how much detail we will go into it!”
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