Crystal Palace’s Zaha Can Match Hazard – Allardyce
Crystal Palace manager Sam Allardyce challenged winger Wilfried Zaha to aspire to the level of Chelsea’s Eden Hazard after Palace’s shock 2-1 win at Stamford Bridge.
Zaha produced an inspired performance, cancelling out an early Cesc Fabregas opener before playing Christian Benteke clean through to score the winner inside the opening 11 minutes.
Palace withstood a prolonged siege to condemn Chelsea to their first Premier League defeat since January, and Zaha might have left the pitch with a hat trick had he not seen one low shot parried wide and blazed another attempt over.
“Wilf must feel really good about himself,” Allardyce said. “His performances are consistent at the moment and he certainly showed it today with his quality of football in possession.
“There’s a man on the other side that’s an outstanding individual like Wilf, and that’s Hazard.
“I think his ability is something that Wilf can look at and try to match.
“But he’s already realising his potential by the way he’s playing. The potential’s becoming a reality.”
Allardyce said Palace had shown a great reaction to the early Chelsea goal, adding: “Instead of their heads going down, which is what I saw when I first arrived, the response of the players was massive.
“The two goals we scored put Chelsea in shock and on the back foot. Holding out to win here is an outstanding victory and an outstanding performance.”
Palace’s day was marred only by injuries to defenders James Tomkins (calf) and his replacement Scott Dann (knee).
Meanwhile, France defender Mamadou Sakho, on loan from Liverpool, has made four appearances for Palace who have won all four and conceded only once.
Allardyce said Sakho’s long-term future would be determined at the end of the season and added: “He’s brought that resilience to the team by leading by example.”