Patrick Bamford returns to Chelsea upon completion of his disappointing loan spell at Crystal Palace with advice from Alan Pardew that he needs to “harden as a professional”.
Bamford made only nine appearances for the Eagles and was given just two starts, both of them in the Capital One Cup.
The 22-year-old forward complained after Monday’s goalless draw with Swansea that his five months in south east London had been “terrible”, a comment he has since retracted with an apology.
Pardew insists Bamford, who excelled when on loan at Middlesbrough last season, was given “every chance” to make an impact at Selhurst Park and believes he will have learned an important lesson
“Being lightweight is not a criticism I’ve heard or noticed in his game. He’s just not hardened yet,” Pardew said.
“He needs to harden as a professional. This experience will harden him. He’s trained well and tried to get into the team. That’s hardening your mentality.
“At Middlesbrough he was playing every week and training every week, it’s all good and flows nicely.
“But it hasn’t flowed here, it’s a different experience. You’ve got to fight and this will harden him up.”
Bamford’s spell at Palace was ended by the terms of the loan deal that had initially earmarked him to spend the entire season in south east London.
“There was a break clause that if he didn’t play a certain number of games, Chelsea had the option to call him back. They’ve exercised that option,” Pardew said.
“Really and truly, it only became apparent for me in the last three or four weeks that that might happen.
“When you take a young player, you’re always hoping that it’s going to happen. It just didn’t work out.
“Of course I think there’s a Premier League player in him – I wouldn’t have taken him on otherwise.
“You have to understand that to jump into the Premier League in a team that’s doing well….it’s not like we’ve struggled this year. We’ve done very, very well.
“People keep saying that our strikers haven’t scored but Yannick Bolasie has four goals through the middle.
“Our strikers have scored. Connor (Wickham) has been terrific when he’s played. They’re good players to get in front of for a young player.”
Pardew bears no grudge towards Bamford for his negative remarks at the start of the week.
“He was a little bit emotional after the game and maybe he said some things that he regrets a little bit,” he said.
“We have no problem with that. We all get emotional. I’ve said some bloody stupid things after games.”