19 October 2014 11:39
Crystal Palace manager Neil Warnock believes Wilfried Zaha’s hard work behind the scenes will reap rewards.
Zaha marked his return to Palace from Manchester United in style with a last-gasp equaliser on his second debut, securing a 3-3 Premier League draw at Newcastle United in August.
The 21-year-old earned a start in the goalless draw against Burnley, but was withdraw after 69 minutes before enduring three matches as an unused substitute.
That run ended on Saturday with an impressive cameo against Chelsea, where Zaha set up Fraizer Campbell’s 90th-minute strike in a 2-1 defeat for Warnock’s men – the first fruits of some intensive work on the training ground during the recent international break.
“Wilfried’s been working very hard with me over the last 10 days,” Warnock said.
“Wilfried knows what I think about him and what I’m going to do with him and he’s clear about that.
“His discipline is a lot better. He’s learning when to do his tricks and when not to do his tricks.
“If he’s in the right area when he gets the ball, he’s as good as anybody.”
Following a deeply frustrating 12 months at Old Trafford, Warnock believes former Palace forward Victor Moses serves as a useful example to Zaha.
A one-time Selhurst Park favourite, Moses has gone on to carve out a career as an established if nomadic top-flight presence across spells with Wigan Athletic, Chelsea, Liverpool and Stoke City – the latter two on loan from the London club.
“The penny just dropped for Victor,” said Warnock, who managed Moses during his first stint with Palace.
“I remember saying to Victor ‘you could go to the very top or you could be playing for [non-league club] Bromley – no disrespect to Bromley – in the next couple of years’.
“I remember the game ever so clearly at Cardiff. He got kicked to death, kept getting up and ripped them to pieces.
“From that day on he’s been a good player.”
Warnock added: “Wilfried has got to learn one or two things. He’s gone to a massive club early in his career where you don’t get a lot of coaching and I think that’s what he needs.
“His attitude is spot on – people question that but his attitude has been super for me.”