Maverick Wilfried can save Palace, says Alan Pardew

Alan Pardew believes maverick talents such as Wilfried Zaha will be key if Crystal Palace are to avoid relegation from the Premier League.

AFP| Last Updated: Jan 11, 2015, 09:45 AM IST
Maverick Wilfried can save Palace, says Alan Pardew

London: Alan Pardew believes maverick talents such as Wilfried Zaha will be key if Crystal Palace are to avoid relegation from the Premier League.

Pardew`s reign at the Londoners began promisingly on Saturday when they came from behind to defeat in-form city rivals Tottenham 2-1 at Selhurst Park.

They fell behind to a Harry Kane goal before a Dwight Gayle penalty and a winner from Jason Puncheon secured a first league win in nine games.

Pardew credited the victory with his side`s more creative approach in the second half and was particularly impressed with the display of substitute Zaha who appeared midway through the second half.

Zaha is on loan from Manchester United after failing to establish himself at Old Trafford and Pardew believes there is more to come from the winger who set up Puncheon`s decisive goal.

"Wilfried came on and gave us exactly the reaction we were looking for. If I`m honest, I left him out because I wanted to see what his reaction would be like," said Pardew who left Newcastle to take charge at Palace.

"This is a boy whose confidence needs to be rekindled, I think. That will do him no harm today. That 20 minutes was electrifying."

And Pardew believes the key to avoiding relegation will be to develop sufficient confidence in the side to draw the best out of Zaha and the other creative players.

The manager added: "You have to keep your feet on the floor. But you have to understand in this game, it`s not straight lines, it`s not just eating the right food and turning up on time.

"You also have to have a bit of maverick behaviour in your side and fortunately today we found it just in time.

"I`ve got a few mavericks, but sometimes the maverick needs to come out, it can become a little withdrawn.

"And this is no disrespect to the previous manager who I have fantastic respect for, but sometimes results mean you become a bit negative in your thinking. And you have t get the balance right. Second half I thought we did."

Pardew also revealed that the first person to congratulate him on Saturday`s win was Newcastle owner Mike Ashley.

"When I checked my phone after the game the first person who texted me was Mike Ashley and I appreciated that," said Pardew.

"He knew that probably it was the right time for everybody concerned. He just said it was a great result and I appreciated that."

Defeat ended Tottenham`s six-game unbeaten run in the league and Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino admitted the result was a disappointment after the New Year`s Day victory over Chelsea.

Pochettino believes the 68th-minute penalty awarded after Benjamin Stambouli upended Joe Ledley was crucial to the outcome of the game.

"The decisions were key today. After I think 65 minutes we were in control of the game, the penalty changed it all, the energy, it changed all," said Pochettino.

"The decision, maybe it wasn`t a penalty and it is key in the result. From my dugout it`s difficult to give my opinion but my players say he never touched the player."