All of the time: We're playing those mind games

Old guard: Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand had to cope with the returning Glenn Murray

Old guard: Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand had to cope with the returning Glenn Murray

First published in Sport Croydon Guardian: Photograph of the Author by

José Mourinho might think he's the master of mind games, but he has not studied Tony Pulis' techniques.

The Palace boss strongly denied that Glenn Murray was anywhere near a full return to the starting line-up in his press conference last week.

He couldn't wait for the striker to be ready to start... but that time was ages away.

David Moyes probably put his feet up, relieved the ex-Brighton frontman would not be troubling the elderly combo of Nemanja Vidić and Rio Ferdinand. What a relief.

Then, wham! Surprise! The team sheet arrives on Saturday and Glenn's name is right there up top.

How's that for psychological warfare?

And Murray had a really impressive game too. It was a joy to watch his battling holdup play again, his neat one-touch football with Marouane Chamakh, Tom Ince and Jason Puncheon, and his troublesome aerial duels with the United centre backs who seemed panicked by his presence.

On more than one occasion they resorted to manhandling Murray to control him.

Sadly, Pulis' mind games didn't end up working as other areas of the pitch let Palace down.

Mile Jedinak and Chamakh in particular. The former having a substandard game when it came to his passing, again, the latter responsible for a clumsy challenge that gifted United the opener.

What was most surprising was the lack of tackling and harrying from our midfield duo of Jedinak and Joe Ledley, unusually content to let Juan Mata, Michael Carrick et al play the ball at will.

Then, once again, a stupidly conceded penalty changed everything for the Eagles against the reigning English champions this season.

Nevertheless, the atmosphere at Selhurst was incredible.

Games under the floodlights always bring the best out of the home support, even if the Sky cameras generally mean the opposite for the team's performance.

There seemed to be a tangible sense of rage in the air. Which is exactly what you want against someone like United. Their travelling support was packed and pretty vocal, but naturally dwarfed by the noise coming from the fans in red and blue.

Croydon Guardian:

Show of strength: The Homlesdale show their true colours

Looking at photos on Sunday, the Holmesdale Fanatic's tifo display was brilliant. It looked as impressive as I thought it was from under a shiny square of red plastic.

What let everyone down, more so than Chamakh's striker's challenge, were the absolute cretins in block B that threw stuff at Wayne Rooney as he took the corners.

It wasn't just one coin or one lighter, it happened several times. That's not to say missiles were raining down on the England international like smoking-paraphernalia-hail.

But even if it was only two people to blame for the rubbish chucked at Rooney, they should be dealt with severely.

It reflects badly on everyone else at Selhurst. And undoes all the good work done by the huge displays. Suddenly in the public's perception we move from awesome, European ultra-esque fandom to being labelled as thugs or scum.

Next thing you know, more stringent measures are in place to control the Holmesdale. To make us sit down - or much worse.

And nobody wants that.

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