Alan Pardew spoke of his delight at Wilfried Zaha’s performance after Crystal Palace beat Watford 1-0 in the Premier League on Sunday.
Pardew had criticised winger Zaha after a lacklustre game against Tottenham last week, and despite being impressed by his response in the Capital One Cup in midweek, Pardew dropped Zaha to the bench for Sunday’s clash with Watford.
With the scores level at 0-0 in the second half however, Pardew brought on Zaha at around the hour mark, with the England international winning the vital penalty against the Hornets which Yohan Cabaye converted.
Pardew praised the 22-year-old after the game, saying: “He’s got that kind of determination to prove I’m wrong. I like that and he did. He did really well and now it’s about when he starts having that concentration all the time.
“I thought his reaction in the week was very good, I told him on Thursday he wouldn’t start despite playing well on Wednesday. He took that well and has reacted in the right way.
“This is a lesson learned for him, he can’t let his standards slip, especially with Sako and (Yannick) Bolasie. I can’t play them all and competition is fierce.”
Pardew was also happy with the output of the rest of his players, with the three points lifting his side to sixth place in the Premier League.
“From a manger’s perspective it was a great day for me and my team,” he said.
“The concentration levels were really high today. There was some really good wide play and in the end that won us the game.
“I don’t smile often but I do smile today because I was really pleased, it wasn’t our greatest performance but it was a good, professional performance and as manager of the team that makes me happy.”