‘Derbies are not there to be played, they are there to be won’ – Palace attacker on grudge match against Brighton

Jordan Ayew insists that the Crystal Palace squad understand how much Monday night’s fixture against rivals Brighton & Hove Albion means to the fans.

The Eagles forward, 30, has featured in every game under Patrick Vieira this season and has started the previous three Premier League outings.

Speaking on how much the game means to the Palace faithful, Ayew told PLP: “It means so much for them. It means so much for us, for the whole club and for the whole community. We will be ready on Monday. I am really looking forward to it – it’s a derby. As they say: ‘“Derbies are not there to be played, they’re there to be won.’

“We know it’s going to be a very tough game because it’s a derby and Brighton are really good – they have started really well as well. We have the qualities to put them in danger as well to win the game.”

Ayew, who joined in 2018 from Swansea and picked up Palace’s Player of the Season in the 2019-20 campaign, has failed to score since the 4-1 win over Leeds in November 2020. However, while the Ghanaian international says he wants to be more “ruthless” in the final third, he insists that his main focus is to ensure that the team picks up all three points.

“The most important thing is for the team to win,” said Ayew when asked how much he was looking forward to getting off the mark for the season. “If I score, I will be very happy, my family will be happy, but if the team wins, everyone will be happy as well, so there is no problem about that.”

When asked how he is adapting to the new style that Vieira has implemented at the club, Ayew said: “It’s great to see people that you looked up to when you were a child, managing me now. I never thought that would have happened, and I never dreamt of that or imagined that would have happened.

“It’s a different approach – attacking. He wants his team to play and wants his team to defend and attack together. A lot of intensity as well. It’s positive. We’re doing well. We just need to keep working, have belief in ourselves, and we will get better and better.

“He wants to win every game because he is a winner. His winning mentality is transferring onto us, and we’re buying into it. Everyone is pushing, everyone wants to do well, and everyone wants to give his best for the team. It’s really positive.

“It’s important for us to be consistent. It’s very, very important because consistency is not easy. We are working well – new philosophy, new style. With games, we will get better and better as well.

“Everyone is not worried – we are all positive about it. We know we had difficult fixtures as well – the two games we have lost were against Chelsea and Liverpool. No one would have thought we would have won against Tottenham, and we won. It’s a good start to the season, we just need to build on that, and we will be fine.”




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