Crystal Palace’s Alan Pardew has become the latest Premier League manager to question the sense in the scheduling of the FA Cup third round.
Palace made it into the fourth round courtesy of a 2-1 win at Southampton on Saturday, but Pardew admits he may not have been able to field such a strong side had his side not been in such a comfortable league position.
“We’re all a bit conscious that for the teams down the bottom it’s tough to have a cup game like this off the back of the Christmas programme,” Pardew said. “I keep saying, and I’ve said it before, that the third round needs to be moved.
“I don’t think it’s fair for the competition. Obviously our selection was strong because of our league position, but if I was down at the bottom I would be really thinking about Tuesday (a league fixture at Aston Villa) more than I did.
“It devalues the competition. They should really look at the scheduling, maybe put it back a bit or put it before the Christmas programme. Or do something that gives the FA Cup a little bit more respect.”
Palace’s 2-1 victory at St Mary’s was secured by close-range finishes from Joel Ward and Wilfried Zaha, either side of Oriol Romeu’s equalising goal.
A year into his reign at Selhurst Park, the experience will have provided a significant contrast from his time at Newcastle United, where the club’s hierarchy insisted he overlook cup competitions to prioritise remaining in the Premier League.
Almost 10 years since have passed since the manager led West Ham to the brink of the trophy – and having also played in the 1990 final as a midfielder for Palace, Pardew wants his team to become the first in the club’s history to win it.
“This team has the qualities to go to the final, there’s no doubt about that,” Pardew said. “I’ve seen teams get there who haven’t got the technical quality or the tenacity or the spirit of this group.
“You still need luck, and anyone who has won it will tell you that you need the luck of the draw a little bit and also a little bit of fortune on the day. As resilient and tenacious as were (at Southampton), we had a bit of luck but we go on to the next game.
“Unless I get dragged into that bottom four or five (of the Premier League), it will be my strongest team in every round. I want to win it.”