CRYSTAL PALACE and Fulham lost talismanic stars in Wilfried Zaha and Aleksandar Mitrovic in the summer.
But Kit Symons, who played for both clubs, reckons his ex-sides can sustain their strong start to the new season.
The London pair lie ninth and tenth in the Premier League table ahead of today’s Selhurst Park clash.
And Symons reckons a top-half finish is achievable for Roy Hodgson and Marco Silva rather than finding themselves in a relegation scrap without their big hitters, who are now at Galatasaray and Al-Hilal.
Symons said: “Palace and Fulham are in similar boats having lost big players.
“It’s down to mindset. Look at Harry Kane and Tottenham too. Spurs are playing their best football in years having lost their best player.
“Quite often it puts more responsibility onto other people. Others need to share the responsibility of the group.
“For most clubs they just want to stay up. But Palace and Fulham are both stable with decent squads and I expect both to be very comfortable.
“They are ninth and tenth so it’s not impossible for them both to finish in the top 10.
“They could sneak in there. I’m sure their target will be to keep pushing.
“Both have good managers and with the stability of the clubs – you wouldn’t rule them out from doing it.”
Symons has a strong affinity as he played and managed both Palace and Fulham.
The ex-Wales centre-back left Manchester City for Craven Cottage in 1998 where he played for three seasons then moved to Selhurst Park for the final four years of his playing days.
Symons then became Palace assistant and even had a spell as caretaker boss after the departure of Steve Kember and Terry Bullivant.
Later, he filled a series of roles at Fulham from scout to U21s boss to a year as manager following Felix Magath’s exit in 2014.
Symons will be at Selhurst Park as a guest of Palace today and he added: “I have a lot of time for both clubs and I like to see them do well. I’ll definitely be hoping it’s a draw.”
Symons is back in the UK after an 18-month spell as assistant boss to Chris Coleman at Atromitos ended due to cost-cutting at the Greek club.
The 52-year-old said: “The owner was trying to sell the club so there were budget cutbacks. I had a brilliant time. When we went to Greece, the team looked doomed but we kept them up.
Then we built and just missed out on the play-offs last season. It was a great experience. Athens was brilliant, the food, climate, people and culture was fantastic.
“I saw one of the most bizarre things in my football life. We played AEK Athens at home and the game was called off during the warm up because the crossbar was 1cm too short!
“Their goalkeeper coach was touching the crossbar and shaking his head before the officials came out with their tape measures.
“They tried shaving earth off the bottom of one of the posts but to no avail, the game was postponed.
“It wasn’t as if anyone would get an advantage as we would have changed ends at half-time. I’m sure they had their reasons.”
September 23, 2023 at 01:01PM
from The Sun