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Osian Roberts wants Palace to focus on themselves ahead of Old Trafford test

Osian Roberts wants Palace to focus on themselves ahead of Old Trafford test
Ralf Rangnick takes charge of Manchester United for the first time on Sunday.

Osian Roberts says Crystal Palace will focus on implementing their principles of play rather than worrying too much about the opposition ahead of Sunday’s match with Manchester United

The Eagles make the trip to Old Trafford to face a Red Devils side who will be managed by Ralf Rangnick for the first time after the new interim boss was granted a visa this week.

With Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sacked last month and Michael Carrick in charge for United’s last three games, knowing what to expect from this weekend’s hosts has posed a challenge for Palace.

But assistant boss Roberts said: “First of all, Ralf’s a highly respected coach and he’s got a group of players that are highly talented at the club, so the options that he’ll have I’m sure are numerous.

“We will still be about our principles of play and the way that we want to play with and without the ball.

“And if that’s right, then more often than not it’s going to hold us in good stead in terms of the performance that we can bring.”

Palace make the trip to Manchester with plenty of fond memories from recent fixtures in the city.

The Eagles recorded a 2-0 win over Manchester City earlier in the season while they are unbeaten in their last three visits to Old Trafford.

Patrick Vieira’s predecessor Roy Hodgson tasted victory away to United during the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons, but the visitors travel this weekend following back-to-back defeats.

Aston Villa clinched all three points at Selhurst Park last Saturday while a late penalty from Raphinha earned Leeds a 1-0 win over Palace at Elland Road in midweek.

“We were disappointed with our last home game,” Roberts added, after he stepped in for Friday’s pre-match press conference due to manager Vieira being absent while he dealt with an “urgent family matter”.

“We wanted the reaction against Leeds and we felt we got that. We felt we deserved something from the game but we also know that that’s football.

“So we have to continue to just focus on improving our performances. And as long as we do that, then I feel that we can be a team that can be a match for anybody in the league.”

Joel Ward (suspension), Nathan Ferguson (fitness) and James McArthur (hamstring) will miss the clash with United and centre-back Joachim Andersen is doubtful due to his own hamstring injury.