Damien Delaney has talked down Crystal Palace’s new arrival Christian Benteke by insisting: ‘He’s not Lionel Messi’.
Palace have smashed their club record transfer by spending £27million to bring in Belgium striker Benteke from Liverpool.
Manager Alan Pardew will assess the 25-year-old’s fitness before deciding whether to hand him a debut against Blackpool in the EFL Cup at Selhurst Park on Tuesday night.
Palace’s struggles in front of goal have continued this season as they are yet to find the net, losing both their games 1-0 to West Brom and, on Saturday, Tottenham.
But defender Delaney has warned Benteke will not be the answer to their goalscoring problems unless the rest of the team provides him with chances.
“We’re not signing Messi, he’s a good player but he’s not a player who is going to get the ball and make things happen,” Delaney told the Evening Standard.
“We’ve got to work on the midfield players, wide players, defenders, full-backs and have better service and a better way about us.
“He brings a presence, he’s a handful, but Connor Wickham is as well. It’s time we stop talking about things and go and win games.
“We have to get some ammunition for him, get some crosses in the box, give him supply. You can say we’re not scoring goals, but we’re not creating enough chances and that’s coming back to the midfielders and defenders, it’s up to us to get better service.
“If we were missing a whole host of chances, you just want finishers, but I don’t remember (Tottenham goalkeeper Michel) Vorm really doing anything if I’m honest with you.
“It’s not the centre-forwards’ fault, it’s a team game.”
Pardew could also hand a debut to French goalkeeper Steve Mandanda, who joined from Marseille over the summer, against the League Two Seasiders.