Crystal Palace urged to use Michael Olise screamer as catalyst for return of ‘Fortress Selhurst’

Unstoppable: David de Gea was powerless to keep out Michael Olise’s terrific free-kick at Selhurst Park (AFP via Getty Images)
Unstoppable: David de Gea was powerless to keep out Michael Olise’s terrific free-kick at Selhurst Park (AFP via Getty Images)

Crystal Palace must use Michael Olise’s late equaliser against Manchester United this week as the catalyst to restoring ‘Fortress Selhurst’, insists defender Chris Richards.

Bruno Fernandes’ opener in Wednesday night’s meeting had the Eagles heading for a fifth defeat in six League games until Olise’s sensational stoppage-time free-kick earned a share of the points.

Selhurst Park has notoriously been one of the division’s most daunting away venues, but that has not been the case so far this term. The Eagles have lost four times at home already, the same number as in the whole of last season, with high-flying Newcastle next to visit on Saturday.

When asked about the need for an upturn in home form, Richards said: “Yeah, very much [needed]. You always want to win at home and give the fans a good show, so even though we’ve had rocky form here at home [recently], we’re trying to turn it back around, not just for the fans, but for the club.

“We’re going to try to use the momentum from the [United] game and bring it into Saturday.”

Wednesday’s match finally gave Richards his chance to make a first Premier League start since signing from Bayern Munich for £8.5million last summer.

The American saw the first half of his campaign destroyed by injury, which also ruled him out of the World Cup, but he impressed and is expected to keep his place against Newcastle, with Joachim Andersen still sidelined.

Palace boss Patrick Vieira said: “Chris has been really unlucky, because he had a couple of injuries that didn’t allow him to train or play. We know that he’s a good defender and he can play when we want to build from the back. It’s just about his confidence now that we need to build, but the quality is there.”