Defender has no regrets on Liverpool exit

Martin Kelly makes his debut in the opening day 2-1 defeat at Arsenal

Martin Kelly makes his debut in the opening day 2-1 defeat at Arsenal

First published in Sport
Last updated
Wimbledon Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Crystal Palace FC reporter

Former Liverpool full-back Martin Kelly has declared he has no regrets about joining Crystal Palace despite Tony Pulis departing just hours after completing the deal to bring him to SE25.

The 24-year-old came through the ranks at Anfield and made his debut in 2008, but went on to make just 33 appearances for the Reds before agreeing to join the Eagles on August 14.

Unfortunately for him that was also the day Pulis decided to quit, although Kelly feels the huge upheaval behind the scenes at Selhurst Park hasn’t impacted on his own form with two Premier League games already under his belt.

He explained: “The biggest reason for me coming here was to play first team football, so the manager leaving hasn’t affected that.

“I took a lot of time over the decision and I know it was the correct one and don’t regret it.

“The main thing is to be playing and hopefully we can turn the set piece issues around and show the fans a winning mentality from now on.

“I also knew it was a big club with magnificent fans and the fans were fantastic today even when we went down and were still right behind us right until the end and that is going to be vital for our campaign this year.

“Teams don’t like coming here and we need to make it a fortress again like it has been in the past.

“It was a difficult game today but there’s a long way to go and the lad’s aren’t too down.”

Kelly has assured fans things will improve after branding the defending during Saturday’s 3-1 defeat to West Ham United at Selhurst Park as “sloppy”.

The managerless Eagles conceded twice from set plays as they were comprehensively beaten by the Hammers to leave them pointless after two games.

And the former Liverpool man pulled no punches in his assessment of his and his team-mates’ performance.

He said: “There’s no excuse for losing 3-1 at home to three sloppy set plays.

“We started brightly but we sat off too much and they dictated play and that’s not how we should be playing at home - we should be attacking the play and creating chances ourselves.

“The fans pay good money to come and watch us and we shouldn’t be conceding goals like that, especially with how good we are supposed to be defensively.”

Trailing 2-0 to first half goals from Mauro Zarate and Stewart Downing, Kelly felt caretaker boss Keith Millen’s interval team-talk had stopped the rot.

That certainly looked the case when Marouane Chamakh’s 48th minute goal halved the deficit to get the home fans rocking, although they were silenced again when Carlton Cole restored the two-goal cushion just after the hour.  

Kelly said: “At half-time the gaffer felt we were second best in most challenges so we came out for the second half and gave it a better go, got a goal back and were more positive but then conceded another sloppy goal and that was it.

“We need to be stronger at the back and need to work hard to get it back to the way it was because we’ve conceded from set-pieces again.

“In the Premier League most goals are scored from set plays and the coaching staff and the lads need to sort it out.

“We’ve got all the assets and attributes to be the best aerially.

“I don’t know if we just switched off or what but we will work on it this week and look to put things right for the game on Tuesday against Walsall.

“Nobody likes losing so everyone’s disappointed but the squad here are born tryers, we are in it together and we’ll never give up.”

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