Andros Townsend on facing Tottenham Hotspur – and critical of Crystal Palace’s set-piece defending against Chelsea


Andros Townsend bemoaned Crystal Palace’s poor defending from set-pieces following the Eagles’ 3-1 defeat at Chelsea.

The winger struck an excellent equaliser eight minutes into the second half at Stamford Bridge on Sunday but Alvaro Morata was soon allowed too much time in the penalty area to control a free-kick and fire home the Blues’ second, before Pedro added a third.

The South Londoners had been really poor at defending set-pieces all afternoon, with David Luiz having two excellent opportunities with free headers – one of which drew a fantastic save from Wayne Hennessey.

Townsend said: “Against the top teams you can’t concede set pieces. When you’re a smaller club playing against the big teams, the minimum you have to do is defend properly at set pieces.

“If they do get through you, it should have to be a top-class goal from the top players. We’re disappointed as a whole, as an 11, but we have to move on. We were good in the second half until about after 60 minutes. We’ll have to build on that.”

The former Tottenham man has recently returned to a more central role in Palace’s attack alongside Wilfried Zaha, a position he played in towards the end of last season.

He said: “Every time I’ve played up there I’ve enjoyed it, we link up well, put ourselves about.

“We might not be the tallest, or the strongest, but we trouble defences and hopefully if we’re given the nod again to do that role we’ll cause more trouble and score more goals.

“You have to work harder off the ball, especially against top teams when they have a deeper lying midfielder – you have to track him. You have to make unselfish runs and get in behind. It’s a role I thoroughly enjoy playing.”

Palace are in a tough run of fixtures, having faced Everton, Arsenal and Chelsea in their last three games – picking up a single point.

The Eagles host Townsend’s former side Spurs on Saturday evening.

He said: “Spurs are my club. I was there from the age of seven or eight so it’s always nice to play against them, to see old faces and old friends.

“I’m sure that will be a good occasion again and hopefully we can get a positive result.”

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