Their fourth cup win from four has punctuated a worrying period in the league in which they last won at Stoke City on December 19 and which has left them at risk of joining the battle against relegation.
Pardew's team were convincing winners at the Madejski Stadium, however, through Yohan Cabaye's 86th-minute penalty and Frazier Campbell's close-range strike in the fourth minute of second-half stoppage time, and in the belief his team now have some momentum, the manager said: "There's different pressure on us in the league, but maybe Leicester (on March 19) is a good game for us. No one expects us to beat them.
“I’m pleased for our fans who have suffered in our home games of late. It’s great to see that end happily with a semi-final to come. Great forward play from (Wilfried) Zaha and (Yannick) Bolasie and (Emmanuel) Adebayor, which was quite exciting at every level, so we have to take that into the next game.
“We were good and I was pleased for the players. It took a penalty to break them down in the end. I thought it was going to go to a replay, if I’m honest.
“We’ve won, but we’ve got to win in the league.
“A semi-final in the cup brings an excitement to you, and we hope that rubs off on our league form.
“We’ve been pressure conscious of late, but that wasn’t there in the cup. We have 10 games left now and we’re looking forward to them.”
That Palace were waiting until so late in the game to secure victory owed much to the performance of Reading goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi, who made several impressive saves – notably from Yannick Bolasie and Mile Jedinak – and also got a hand to Cabaye’s penalty.
“Ali played really well and made some fabulous saves,” said manager Brian McDermott.
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