Pardew stands by unsettled Zaha


Alan Pardew has claimed that benching Wilfried Zaha on Saturday was not a punishment for the player seeking a move to Tottenham. 

Zaha, 23, met with his manager on Thursday to discuss the interest from Spurs, Palace having rejected a bid deemed to be unsatisfactory from Mauricio Pochettino's team.

The star attacker was then named among the substitutes for the visit of Bournemouth to Selhurst Park in the Premier League, the former Manchester United player coming on to help Palace snatch a 1-1 draw. 

"Wilf's a young man," Pardew told a post-match media conference.

"He's done terrific for us. He was Player of the Year, I play him every week. He's had a tough week, so I wanted to give him a rest.

"He's shown today why he's so highly regarded.

"Wilf couldn't have done any more for us during his time on the pitch.

"He didn't take being on the bench badly at all. I think he understood it wasn't a punishment.

"His actions today and yesterday have shown what a good character he is."

Pardew handed a debut to big-money signing Christian Benteke, the centre-forward struggling to make an impact but demonstrating flashes of his considerable talent after signing from Liverpool last week.

"Christian showed the power and experience in that role through some of the things he did," the manager said.

"He's lacking a bit of play sharpness.

"On another day he'd have had a couple of goals."

Pardew also claimed it was no surprise referee Mike Dean awarded a contentious penalty for contact between Bournemouth's Charlie Daniels and Benteke, Yohan Cabaye seeing his spot-kick saved by Artur Boruc. 

"Eddie and myself both knew who the referee was ... you pull a shirt, you'll concede a penalty," he said.

"If we'd scored the penalty it would've given us the confidence to step up.

"We were absolutely brilliant after the restart with the same eleven players.

"The equaliser was justified and to be honest we could've been in front by then, the number of chances we had."