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England coach Jones motivates Crystal Palace

Eddie Jones knows how to motivate. Credit: PA

England rugby head coach Eddie Jones on Thursday visited Crystal Palace to give Alan Pardew's team a motivational talk for their season run-in that concludes with the FA Cup final.

Palace on May 21 face Manchester United at Wembley Stadium but before then have a further three Premier League fixtures that could yet end with them in the bottom three.

Though it would take an unlikely run of results to relegate them, a return to the Championship remains a mathematical possibility, and in an attempt to maintain his team's focus for Saturday's trip to his former club Newcastle, Pardew invited Jones to share his experiences with Palace's players.

We're still not mathematically safe in the Premier League, so we still have work to do, which is why I asked Eddie Jones to come in, and he had a few words with the team about complacency and about what teams do.

He's been involved in World Cups with other nations, a multi-cutural personality, someone who is engaging. If they can't take on board his comments then we're in trouble.

We share a couple of professional friends. (Palace sports psychologist) Jeremy Snape is one of those, and Eddie asked me about the England rugby team.

We've been quite close since he's been here, and a lot of the views he has on trying to get more from individual players and the group run parallel with my own. Trying to get the best out of his ideas is nice for me.

It was nice to have him here: good timing, what with the result we had (defeating Watford 2-1 in Sunday's semi-final).

– Alan Pardew

Referee announced for Man United v Palace final

Mark Clattenburg will be in charge of the final. Credit: PA

Mark Clattenburg will referee this year's FA Cup final between Manchester United and Crystal Palace, the Football Association announced on Thursday.

The 41-year-old has been officiating in the Barclays Premier League for over a decade but this will be his first time in charge of the Wembley showpiece event.

I think every referee who hasn't refereed the Cup final works hard every season to hopefully referee one of the most prestigious and important cup finals in the world.

You set yourself goals at the start of the season, and mine was to referee in The FA Cup final. It's an honour and a massive achievement.

It came out of the blue. These days you get told of what games you're doing by text, but when you see a call coming in from The FA referees' department you know it's important.

I remember watching Manchester United and Crystal Palace and the tradition of these two teams 26 years ago and that famous game - it's amazing how these games relive. Hopefully it will be as good as it was all those years ago.

– Mark Clattenburg


Pardew set to sign new Crystal Palace deal

Alan Pardew has taken Palace to the FA Cup final. Credit: PA

Alan Pardew may have guided Crystal Palace to the FA Cup final but he is still not ready to sign a new contract at Selhurst Park.

Goals in each half from Yannick Bolasie and Connor Wickham secured a 2-1 win over Watford and a return to Wembley to face Manchester United next month.

But Pardew, who has agreed in principle to a contract extension, is still delaying putting pen to paper until Palace have confirmed their survival in the Premier League.

No, I'm not ready to sign yet because the decision I made was that I wouldn't sign it until we're mathematically safe.

We have to keep our focus and ensure the team is ready for three important league games. We need to get the points, and then we can enjoy the cup final.

– Alan Pardew


Crystal Palace season in the balance - Pardew

Alan Pardew has witnessed an indifferent season from Palace. Credit: PA

Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew admits his side's season is in the balance ahead of this weekend's crunch clash against Norwich.

The Eagles have failed to win a game in the Premier League since December and a defeat at home to fellow strugglers Norwich on Saturday would see them dragged further into trouble.

Heading into the weekend's matches Palace are three points ahead of the 17th-placed Canaries - and seven above the relegation zone - but Pardew knows his troops need a result soon to help turn their flagging campaign around.

Our season is in the balance, it could still be a great season for us but we need to get some points in this league to get into a healthier position.

There is a real determination from the group to get our league position healthier.

We are actually closer to mid-table than we are to the bottom three so we can still finish strongly and that is what we want to do.

It is a key game because it is against a team that is only three points behind us and have won two games.

To beat us would give them great momentum and we don't want that, we want the momentum.

– Alan Pardew

Palace striker Adebayor ends Togo exile

Emmanuel Adebayor has ended his international exile and joined up with the Togo squad for their African Nations Cup qualifier against Tunisia.

Adebayor last featured for Togo in June 2015 and rejected a call-up last month to focus on settling into life at Premier League club Crystal Palace.

Emmanuel Adebayor is back in the side. Credit: PA

The 32-year-old has previously been critical of Togo's off-field set-up, but has returned to the fold after talks earlier this week.

"Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress and working together brings success," Adebayor posted on Facebook on Tuesday.

"Let's go get this win together boys! May God be with us today."

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