Wilfried Zaha reacts after scoring winning penalty to relegate Watford from the Premier League

Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha said he was not fazed about relegating Watford from the Premier League after he scored the only goal in Saturday’s 1-0 win at Selhurst Park.

The Ivorian scored his 13th Premier League goal of the season in the 31st minute when he slotted a penalty past Ben Foster after Michael Olise headed Eberechi Eze’s cross onto the arm of Hassane Kamara inside the area.

Zaha helped the Eagles gain promotion to the top-flight after he won the penalty that Kevin Phillips converted in the 2013 play-off final against Watford.

The Palace academy graduate was also once accused of diving by Watford mascot Harry the Hornet.

The mascot threw itself to the ground at the end of the game in front of Zaha after the winger was booked for simulation during a 1-1 draw on Boxing Day in 2016.

When asked if scoring the goal that confirmed Watford’s place in the Championship for next season held any significance for him, Zaha said: “I wish I cared for it to mean extra because of Watford – it is just another team. 

“I am just focused on getting my goals for the team. It is unfortunate that they went down, but it has got nothing to do with me – I’m just doing my job.”

The 29-year-old started alongside Michael Olise and Eberechi Eze in the Premier League for the first time this season on Saturday.

The Eagles had 15 shots and more than 60 per cent possession against Roy Hodgson’s side.

“It just shows what the club has in store,” said Zaha of the side’s potential.

“Michael is 20, and that’s how good he is already, so imagine when he matures into a grown player – he will be unbelievable. 

Crystal Palace v Watford, Premier League, Selhurst Park, 07 May 2022

“It is nice to be a part of it. I feel as though I am the oldest between these young kids, but it is nice to be a part of it and play with these boys. 

“The future is bright.”

Despite Watford being reduced to 10 men in the 68th minute when Hassane Kamara was sent off for a second yellow card offence, the Eagles failed to find their second goal of the afternoon.

“That’s the aspect that I am talking about. That just comes with maturity, experience and killing games,” added Zaha, who is looking to reach 15 goals in the remaining three games of the season.

“I had to learn that. With the talent that they have, you enjoy just doing tricks and running rings around people, but at the end of the day, [it comes down to] scoring goals. 

“That is what I try and tell them on the pitch: ‘Play with purpose – all the rest comes after.’


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