Season starts ‘now’ for Crystal Palace winger Zaha
Wilfried Zaha claimed his season “starts now” after scoring in back-to-back games for Crystal Palace.
The winger had to put behind him the disappointment of not forcing through a transfer during the summer and he had not found the net until last weekend against Liverpool.
That goal came in defeat but on Saturday the 27-year-old put Palace on the way to a 2-0 victory over Burnley with the opener in first-half injury time.
Zaha told Palace TV: “Let me be honest, the only thing I’ve changed is just let me worry about myself, that’s it. I used to get annoyed about everything: the referee, the other team and my own team-mates at times.
“My season starts now, from (last) Saturday, I’ll just worry about myself and do what I do.”
Zaha was particularly pleased to score with his left foot having picked up the ball from Scott Dann and driven deep into the Burnley box.
He certainly seemed to take Clarets keeper Nick Pope by surprise, with the England man beaten at the near post.
“I’m glad I could take the opportunity, take the defender on and finish,” said Zaha.
“I’m playing on the left, and obviously people are going to show me on to my left because they know I want to come in and shoot on my right. I’ve had to practice on it and it’s match day so I’ve got to show I’ve been practising.”
The result was a blow to Burnley after back-to-back 3-0 wins, and they have to dust themselves down for the visit of Premier League champions Manchester City on Tuesday.
City slipped 11 points behind Liverpool after being held to a draw by Newcastle on Saturday, but Burnley boss Sean Dyche feels they are as dangerous as ever.
“They are still a fine side,” he said. “I certainly don’t think it is an easy one. A slightly freer element in that our crowd will certainly be behind us, they love to take a scalp when they can. City are still a top side and we will have to be right on top of our performance.”
Burnley will be boosted by the return of influential midfielder Ashley Westwood, who sat out the clash with Palace through suspension after picking up five yellow cards.
Jeff Hendrick deputised alongside Jack Cork but Westwood was clearly missed.
Dyche added: “Westy has been in good form, we know that, and he was last season. He has a good connection with Corky and we knew that would be a challenge to make anyone fit in there. But they stuck at it and tried to make the game come our way.”
Dyche was waiting to learn the extent of Charlie Taylor’s hamstring injury after the left-back was forced off in the first half.