Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder Alireza Jahanbakhsh knows the significance of this weekend’s game at Selhurst Park and what it means to Seagulls supporters.
The Iranian international made his first Premier League start of 2019 last weekend in the victory over Huddersfield Town at the Amex Stadium, and is keen to continue that momentum against Crystal Palace trom afternoon.
He said, “As a footballer you always want to have the opportunity to play in big matches and the sorts of ones this weekend that you know mean a lot to the supporters.
“I’ve played those sorts of matches before for Iran and my previous clubs, so I know what they involve, and I know how much they mean to the fans if you do well.
“It means more if you win – like we did in December, unfortunately I missed out through injury, but I got a real sense of what it meant to supporters.
“They were brilliant on that night and the lads gave a great performance. This time it’s away from home, but it’s always nice to be involved in those occasions – the energy you feel drives you on to perform and make them happy.
“The supporters are all that matter for these matches – if we get a good result they’ll be happy for the days and weeks afterwards and hopefully we can do that for them."
Having made the move from AZ Alkmaar to the south coast in the summer, the midfielder also reflected on his time in the city so far.
“It’s very nice – I lived in Holland for nearly six years and the weather is quite similar.
“The life is good and the city has lovely people, whenever I go out they’ve always treated me well. At the start I needed to get to know the area, but as time goes on you start to feel more at home.
“We as players are here to represent the city and these people, whenever you do well that gets better and you enjoy it more – I really like it here and I’m very happy with the way of living here.”
Jahanbakhsh also spoke of his experience of English stadia and supporters so far, citing that his international colleagues also aspire to ply their trade in this country in the not so distant future.
“Every single stadium in this country has a fantastic atmosphere and that’s what I always expected before I moved here.
“Plenty of my international teammates want to play here, if some could achieve that then needless to say it would be nice for me.
“There’s a few in the EFL but hopefully in the next few years we’ll see some more in this division.”