Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew has expressed his delight at Connor Wickham’s recent goal record, despite his side extending their winless run to eleven Premier League games in their 2-2 draw at Sunderland last night.
Pardew claims Wickham has had a "fragmented season" but backs his striker following his recent goal record
Wickham scored both Palace goals against his former club at the Stadium of Light, which followed a two-goal haul against West Brom on Saturday evening, and Pardew says he has seen positive signs from his striker.
“I always felt Connor would score goals having seen him in training,” said Pardew in his post-match press conference. The former Newcastle United boss is under pressure having failed to rekindle Palace’s form which has not seen a league win since mid-December.
The Eagles boss also sympathised with Wickham and claimed his “fragmented season” - due to injuries and suspension - has had an impact on him getting a regular place in the side, but Pardew now says the former Ipswich Town and Sunderland striker has now “got a bit of confidence and it was two great goals [against Sunderland]” while adding that the first goal, a sweetly struck effort which went in via the post, was a “fantastic goal”.
Wickham had scored just once in 14 appearances for Palace prior to his double against West Brom, but now has four goals in his last two appearances, while he is now ahead of January signing, Emmanuel Adebayor, in the pecking order to spearhead the attack.
Pardew disappointed at not sealing first victory of 2016
Pardew went on to rue his side’s inability to see the game out against Sunderland, having conceded a last-minute equaliser through substitute Fabio Borini’s strike.
The Palace boss said, “It’s a game that we deserved to win, and one that we looked like we had won,” he continued, “Then there’s a substitute (Borini) who’s fresh and hits the ball in the only area where it can go in.”
The Eagles had gone behind in the first-half thanks to Dame N’Doye’s deflected effort, but Wickham’s second-half double appeared to have won Palace the game approaching added-time. However, Borini – who had replaced the injured Lee Cattermole ten minutes earlier – squeezed a sensational strike beyond Wayne Hennessey from a tight angle to snatch a point for the hosts.
Pardew concluded his press conference by pointing to Palace’s successful FA Cup run over the past two months as a counter argument for the claims that his side have stalled the season. He said, “You have to remember we have won at Tottenham and Southampton away and Stoke in the cup” since the league form dipped and that “you can’t beat these teams unless you are a good side.”