Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson hailed Wilfried Zaha’s desire after revealing he was disappointed to miss out on a hat-trick in the Eagles’ 5-1 thrashing of West Brom.
The striker’s brace, after his recovery from coronavirus, helped fire Palace to their biggest ever Premier League away win.
It was also the first time a Hodgson side had scored five times away from home in the league since February 2012, when his West Brom side won 5-1 at Wolves.
Christian Benteke also netted twice after Darnell Furlong’s own goal gave Palace the lead on Sunday.
Conor Gallagher did make it 1-1 in the first half before Matheus Pereira’s red card handed Palace an advantage which they exploited – although Zaha wanted more goals.
Hodgson said: “He was a bit disappointed I took him off with 10 minutes to go because he wanted a hat-trick. That’s a good sign.
“I would have been less happy if he said ‘I was quite content to come off, I don’t knee the third goal’.
“I see it from Wilf all the time, I’ve seen it over the last three-and-a-half years. We know he has that ability when we can get the ball to his feet in the final third.
“What he has added to his game this year is goal-scoring. If Wilf can keep that up it bodes very well for us.”
Hodgson also reserved praise for Benteke after his first goals of the season.
He added: “He has been patient and never stopped working. He showed the type of player he was when Palace bought him from Liverpool and has now got to keep that going.”
Furlong turned Zaha’s cross into his own net after eight minutes and, after the defender hit the bar at the right end, he set up Gallagher to level on the half hour.
But Pereira was dismissed four minutes later when referee Paul Tierney ruled he kicked out at Patrick van Aanholt after reviewing a replay.
It was crucial and Albion collapsed in the second half, Palace overpowering them to secure their biggest away win for almost two years.
Zaha restored the lead after 55 minutes when he curled in and Benteke then scored his first of the season, heading in four minutes later.
Zaha stabbed in to make to 4-1 after 68 minutes and Benteke completed the scoring, firing in low with eight minutes left.
Albion slipped to second bottom after their goal difference took a battering and boss Slaven Bilic hinted they may look to appeal Pereira’s dismissal.
He said: “I will speak to Luke (Dowling, sporting director) and Ken (Xu Ke, chief executive) and then decide. It was a cheap one. For me, he gave an option (to send him off).
“The more you watch it, the less it is a red card. Maybe there’s a little contact. I would say a reaction is there but it wasn’t a kick. If he gives them an option to give him a red card, you can’t do it.
“I’m not happy with the way we collapsed at 2-1, you can’t do that but for us to be competitive and be strong we need all of them on the pitch.
“After the second goal, especially after the third goal, it became too easy for them. We didn’t mark, everybody was thinking and relying on their team-mate to do the job.”