Crystal Palace boss Alan Pardew insists Patrick Bamford was given “every chance” to make an impact during his loan spell at Selhurst Park.
Bamford has returned to Chelsea after failing to hit the target in nine appearances for the Eagles and after Monday’s goalless draw with Swansea he stated his five months in south-east London had been “terrible”.
The 22-year-old forward has retracted his comments two days on, apologising and adding: “I couldn’t have been at a nicer club. I’m just disappointed I couldn’t do more for the team.”
Pardew has accepted the apology of the England Under-21 international, whose only two starts at Palace were in the Capital One Cup.
“Patrick made a slight error after the game. I think he was a little bit emotional. He has addressed that. I appreciate that,” Pardew said.
“His comments on Wednesday were much nearer the mark. He has had every chance here.
“We have been getting fantastic results, so his chances (to start matches) have been limited. We kept on winning and you have to keep the balance of the side. It is as simple as that.”
Bamford fired 19 goals in 44 appearances for Middlesbrough last season and while his time at Palace was far less productive, Pardew insists he has a future in the Premier League.
“Patrick has learned from that experience and I would like to think he will be a very good player for Chelsea and England going forward,” Pardew said.
“This was a learning curve for him. He knows this is a little bit of a step up from the Championship, but there is nothing to suggest he can’t make that step up. I wish him all the best for the future.
“I like him. He’s a prospect. His game time here was disappointing. I get that. Now he needs to find game time in the Premier League. Will he get that at Chelsea?
“I hope he becomes a top player because he has some really nice attributes as a person and if he becomes a great player, then great.”
Palace stormed Stamford Bridge with a 2-1 victory on August 29 but Pardew believes completing the double over the ailing champions is unlikely with Connor Wickham and Yannick Bolasie injured and Yohan Cabaye suspended.
“It’s unrealistic because of the bodies I have available,” said Pardew, who added there is “no chance” Chelsea could be relegated.
“Chelsea look like they have gone into a controlled phase of making sure they are stable in the league and will probably attack the cups,” he said.
“They looked a bit more assured against Manchester United, so they are favourites for this game. Having said that, we are difficult to play at home at the moment.”