Damien Delaney has never been known as a man to pull his punches when speaking to the press, making his comments in the immediate aftermath of our defeat to Tottenham on Saturday as explosive as you would expect.
The Irish central defender may be edging towards the climax of his career, but having been an almost ever-present figure in the Palace back four for the entirety of our shambolic run of form in 2016, he’s refusing to take the line of least resistance when talking to the press about the reasons for our dramatic decline.
After being substituted mere seconds before Victor Wanyama grabbed a sickening 82nd minute winner for Spurs on Saturday, Damo has poured scorn on any suggestion of bad luck in relation to our defending from set-pieces in the opening two games of the campaign, calling for the club to stop talking and start producing the performances necessary to arrest the slide we’ve been on since late last December.
Whilst huge swathes of the Crystal Palace fan-base and Alan Pardew himself have placed a huge amount of importance on the recent arrival of Christian Benteke from Liverpool, Delaney is adamant that the Belgian’s signing means little if our overall play doesn’t markedly improve in the weeks and months to come. Some may well suggest that his comments regarding Benteke don’t exactly give off a welcoming and positive vibe but in Delaney’s world, results are all that matters from week to week.
Even the most rose-tinted of Palace fans would struggle to find more than a couple of positives to take from the slump which has seen us win just two league games in 23 outings but far removed from the self-preservation campaign that Pardew has predictably embarked upon following back-to-back 1-0 defeats, Damien has blown the doors off of their figurative hinges on demanding an improvement from himself, his teammates and those making the tactical decisions against both Blackpool and Bournemouth in the next five days.
The Irishman has got more than his fair share of critics, many of whom openly lambast him for a perceived lack of finesse at the heart of the Eagles’ defence but in times of crisis, there can be no debate over his leadership qualities both on and off the field.
With Mile Jedinak gone, we need the big characters that remain in the squad to step up to the plate at times of crisis. It seems, in the interview above, Damo has taken it upon himself to air some potentially painful home truths in a bid to provoke a change of fortune.
Good on him.