06 March, 2018
Yet as Eagles fans who watched, solemnly, as the results came in over the weekend and Palace dropped back into the relegation zone, even an injection of league points now would only be a temporary reprieve in a scrap which seems certain will last into May.
"After the second goal it was very hard for us to come back, we showed character and did exactly what the manager wanted us to do", Matic told Sky Sports.
Palace host Manchester United on Monday before further fixtures with Chelsea, Huddersfield and Liverpool by the end of the month, after when they face a kinder run against Bournemouth, Brighton, Watford, Leicester, Stoke and West Brom. Manchester United is just a single point adrift of the Reds with a game in hand and Tottenham follows the Old Trafford outfit closely with 58 points. Over their last five games, United have been held goalless twice and scored only five times.
The 70-year-old has watched his team, undermined by a succession of injuries and the improving form of their rivals, return to the division's bottom three having already once fought their way to mid-table.
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Antonio Valencia should retain his place at right-back but Luke Shaw could be handed a recall on the opposite flank with Ashley Young given a rest.
David de Gea will don the goalkeeper's gloves in the match as the Spaniard has been outrightly impressive in recent games. Made a fantastic save to deny Christian Benteke moments after United equalised though, which enabled United to go on and win.
United then fell asleep early in the second half.
And finally, with two minutes of added time to play, Matic restored United's tenuous foothold in second place. The shot took a deflection off United defender Victor Lindeloff on the way through, but it was heading for the back of the net anyway.
Palace find themselves back in the relegation zone and are in the midst of an injury crisis, with 10 first-team players now sidelined.
In the attacking department, veteran striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic is fit again and training, but Mourinho has ruled him out of contention for the game against Palace.