by Andrew McSteen
When the Premier League, and, eventually, the country, ground to a halt in March due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace side were on a run of three straight Premier League wins, sitting in 11th spot and two wins off of a UEFA Europa League place.
That third consecutive win came against Watford on 7 March, nearly 11 weeks ago, and according to defender Scott Dann, the break came at a time when his side were getting their reward for their hard work.
“We got a little bit of momentum in those last three games,” said the 33-year-old. “Once you get that first win, then the second one, you start to build momentum and just when you think you’re going to go for the fourth or fifth, we end up in lockdown.
“Thinking back, we had a couple of really good performances, all types of different performances, (firstly) home to Newcastle, then away to Brighton – they were tough games; people in an around us in the league, and then we won at home against Watford.
“But we’ve got a great squad with a mixture of experience and a lot of talent in there,” he added. “Across this season there’s not been many games where we haven’t been at the races, the scorelines could have gone either way and we’ve missed out on some points where we should have won, so I think that hopefully when we get back, we can pick up where we left off.”
Dann played every minute of all three of those 1-0 victories, representing exactly a third of his league appearances this season following a long-term injury lay-off.
And with further time at home this season due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Dann, who, along with goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey, is the second-longest serving Palace player, having signed on January 2014’s deadline day, has had time to reflect on his career in SE25 so far and what the future holds for the club.
“I’ve loved every single minute of it,” said Dann about his time at Palace. “When I came to the club it was down in the relegation zone and we’ve flirted with the bottom of the league a lot more times than what we would have liked. But, progressively, we’ve started to move up and finish in higher positions each year. Staying in the Premier League is no easy feat and to do that for the past six or seven years and being in the position we are now it’s something that we can all be proud of.
“I must be one of the players who have been there the longest with Joel and a couple of others who signed with me and it’s been thoroughly enjoyable with some highs and lows,” he added. “I had a bad injury which kind of knocked me a bit – I was in good form for a number of years then had a long lay-off, and you come back, things have changed, people are in the position you are in and you have to react and show what you’re about.
“I have a great relationship with the staff, the players and the fans. I’ve played in all the grounds all over the country and in front of numerous home fans in all the other clubs I’ve played for, but I think everyone would agree that playing at Selhurst (Park) is special and somewhere where other teams don’t go to like and play. Being able to do that for so long is something I’ve really enjoyed.
“With the squad we have and the type of lads we’ve got, hopefully we’ll come back (to league action) and start to look the other way, rather than what’s behind us, and see how far we can get up the league – we’re all looking forward to getting back and hopefully we can pick up where we left off.”
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