Jason Puncheon will not allow any signs of complacency when Crystal Palace look to build on their impressive win at Liverpool when they host second-bottom Sunderland tonight.
The Eagles’ spirit is flying again following the 2-1 Anfield success, and Palace are eager to make amends for last season’s 3-1 home defeat to Sunderland in a televised Monday night encounter.
“Sometimes you can get complacent and that’s only natural as human-beings,” said former Southampton midfielder Puncheon.
“We’ve got to play our game and bring our ability to the table. Crystal Palace is a hard place to come to if the fans get behind us, and we’ll be using that to help carry us through.”
Alan Pardew has led Palace to a mid-table place after the first 12 games in the Premier League, and Puncheon is looking to better last season’s efforts, when they finished 10th, with a possible crack at Europe in their sights.
The 29-year-old added on cpfc.co.uk: “I think we’ve got to aim to better our target from last season and then we can call it progress.
“The likes of Leicester, West Ham, as well as teams below us, are showing a lot of belief and keep picking up points, but we’ve just got to worry about ourselves.
“The manager has added to the unity and togetherness of the group and everyone is chomping at the bit to get in the team.
“The manager has shown belief in us and we need to keep that with everyone pulling in the right direction.
“It brings out the best in you when there’s competition for places, and if we keep our belief I think we’ve got the capacity and the players to get into Europe and that’s what we should be striving for.”
The game sees players from both sides return from the international break, with Puncheon adding:“It was nice to have a break and let the legs and mind settle.
“But international breaks are a bit frustrating because you want to keep the momentum and there’s always that danger of people going away and coming back injured.
“But everyone’s come back in good shape and ready for the game.”