The 28-year-old Ivorian explains why he took a penalty and his delight at notching the 500th top-flight goal for Patrick Vieira’s charges
Crystal Palace attacker Wilfried Zaha has opened up on what drove him to take the penalty which opened the scoring for his side when they beat Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 in the Premier League on Saturday.
The winger took the initiative to convert from the spot in the 76th minute after Conor Gallagher earned Palace a penalty, and his opener turned out to be the Eagles’ 500th Premier League goal in the home win at Selhurst Park.
With Tottenham reduced to 10 men after Japhet Tanganga was sent off in the 58th minute after a clumsy challenge on Ghana international Jordan Ayew, Palace, led by Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira, scored two more goals courtesy of debutant Odsonne Edouard to pick up their first win of the season on matchday four.
Zaha has explained why he stepped up to take the penalty and promised to take more this campaign.
“I just told myself that I feel like I hold myself back a lot,” Zaha told the club’s official website. “It’s not even I tell myself I can’t do stuff, I just don’t do it. One day I just thought: ‘Why am I not taking penalties?’
— Crystal Palace F.C. (@CPFC) September 11, 2021
“You’ll be seeing me take corners, free-kicks soon enough! Why am I limiting myself? So today [Saturday] I see a penalty came and, yeah, it’s me taking it…as long as I keep scoring them you’ll see more of me, don’t worry.
“I know, everyone in the team knows, what I do for the team. But at the end of the day, I just want to get my name on the scoresheet; I feel like that’s what really matters…because goals win games.”
On the overall performance of the team, Zaha said: “Obviously we’ve worked hard and I’m just glad everyone can see what we’ve been working on from today’s display.
“The way we’re playing, we’re bound to get a chance. I feel like it’s not just counter-attacks and hoofing the ball around, when it’s properly planned the way we’re playing the goals are going to come eventually.”
On scoring what turned out to be Palaces’ 500th goal in the top-flight, the Ivorian said: “I’m always happy scoring goals for the club so hearing it’s the 500th for the club is massive.
“I’m glad my goal today could help towards a comfortable 3-0 win.
“It just shows we’re not just a counter-attacking team, we can actually play out the back and play through teams. Obviously today we showed we’re definitely improving.”
Zaha will hope to continue with his fine run when Palace travel to Anfield to take on Liverpool in their next assignment on September 18.