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Speroni unfazed by 'underdogs' tag

14 May 2013

Goalkeeper Julian Speroni insists Crystal Palace's tag as underdogs does not bother them as they bid for promotion to the Barclays Premier League.

The Eagles went into their play-off semi-final against rivals Brighton as big underdogs against the in-form Seagulls, but two goals from Wilfried Zaha booked Palace a trip to Wembley to face Watford in the final a week on Monday. The Hornets will now be fancied to secure promotion, but Speroni is confident Ian Holloway's side can spring another surprise in the showpiece reckoned to be worth around ?120million to the winners.

"It doesn't matter what anyone else says, we probably were the underdogs but we didn't care about that, we just went to play our game," said the Argentinian.

"People talk about momentum going into the play-offs, but it's about what happens on the day. It doesn't matter what happened in the season. It's one game and Watford will we very tough opposition. It's all about what happens on May 27."

Zaha stole the headlines with a superb second-half double. The winger, who will join Manchester United after the final, scored with a diving header in the 69th minute and a fine turn and shot with two minutes to go.

But Speroni played a major role in Palace's victory, tipping Ashley Barnes' effort on to the crossbar moments before Zaha opened the scoring.

He added: "Everyone contributed to achieve this, it was a big team effort. There must be a lot of pressure on Wilf. Everyone talks about him but he showed a lot of class when we needed him to perform.

"He scored two great goals and I'm really pleased for him, he's a top professional."

Holloway, who took over the Eagles in November, said: "We are going to have a wonderful day out, but you only do that when you win - I had a horrible day last year. I'm only just starting but I'd love to do something for this football club."

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