Wilfried Zaha’s hard work in defence is paying off for Crystal Palace as boss Patrick Vieira says it will be great for the club if he ‘maintains’ his level of performance after away victory against Wolves
- Wilfried Zaha scored from the spot during Crystal Palace’s win over Wolves
- The winger’s efforts in tracking back also stood out during the contest
- Patrick Vieira hopes Zaha can ‘maintain’ that level of performance going forward
Wilfried Zaha has always been a particularly prickly thorn in opponents’ sides, wearing out right backs across the Premier League as he goes at them again and again in search of an opening.
But it was his all-round game that shone against Wolves, tracking back to win possession time and again and forming a dynamic partnership with left back Tyrick Mitchell.
Zaha left Conor Coady for dead to set up the first goal for Jean-Philippe Mateta before he stepped up to the penalty spot for the first time since his horror effort at Norwich last month, to complete the scoring.
Wilfried Zaha scored from the penalty spot in Crystal Palace’s 2-0 win against Wolves
Manager Patrick Vieira is adamant that Zaha’s hard work in defence will pay off going forward, too.
‘It’s about him understanding that the game is about 11 players on the field that need to work together,’ said Vieira. ‘He has a massive part to play when we don’t have the ball.
‘When he works like he did at Wolves he always manages to still create chances or score goals, because that will put him in the position where we can win the ball higher and express his talent. If he maintains this type of performance, it’ll be great for us.’
The 34th-minute penalty took Zaha to nine league goals for the season, just two off the career-high 11 he managed last campaign.
Zaha also impressed defensively for Palace tracking back and helping out his full-back
Patrick Vieira believes Zaha’s hard work in defence could pay off for Palace going forward
In celebration he cupped both ears to the home support, who had booed him from his first touch. It was noticeable until then that Zaha had not risen to any provocation — from Wolves players or fans — as has been his downfall previously.
Asked about Zaha’s temperament, Vieira said: ‘I don’t want that to change. It’s part of who he is, we need this kind of passion.’
Wolves boss Bruno Lage challenged his team to show they have the mentality to secure a European place, following a third successive defeat. They sit eighth in the table and, after this torpid display, Lage’s patience snapped. ‘I need to understand if these players are comfortable now with these 40 points, if they have ambition to go to the next level,’ he said. ‘Or if they are very happy with how we’re doing.
‘I hope now on Thursday against Watford that the players give me the right answer.’