Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew praised Wilfried Zaha’s resolve after the winger responded to criticism with a match-winning intervention off the bench at Watford today.
Read more: Pardew criticises Zaha
Zaha’s trickery tempted Hornets full-back Allan Nyom into a tackle that gleaned a penalty and captain Yohan Cabaye stepped up to become the first away player to score a Premier League goal at Vicarage Road this season.
It came seven days after Pardew substituted Zaha at half-time against Tottenham and criticised his concentration, and the Eagles boss was pleased with the 22-year-old’s riposte.
“I knew that if he was fresh coming off the bench he would cause a problem or two because he’s got that kind of determination to prove that I’m wrong. I like that,” said Pardew after a win that lifted Palace to sixth. “He did really well and, when he starts, it’s about having that concentration all the time.”
Cabaye had missed three of his previous four spot-kicks but the midfielder seized the ball in the 71st minute, despite forward Dwight Gayle having been designated Palace’s new penalty-taker.
Nyom’s offending challenge appeared to take place just inside the penalty area, and while Pardew hailed referee Anthony Taylor’s decision, Watford manager Quique Sanchez Flores was less impressed.
“There was not much difference between the two sides today,” said the Spaniard, whose side lie 13th. “It was a very big decision from the referee to decide the match. I am not sure.”
Both teams hit the woodwork in a lively start to the second half, Watford schemer Jose Jurado smacking the crossbar with a curling free-kick from which striker Troy Deeney could not convert the rebound.
Palace winger Bakary Sako’s devilish low cross from the left looked destined for Gayle, but Hornet defender Craig Cathcart’s sliding interception diverted it onto the forward and then the frame of the goal.