Yannick Bolasie praised the impact of Wilfried Zaha in Crystal Palace’s win at Watford – and is now eager to impress himself after signing a fresh deal at Selhurst Park.
Zaha came off the bench on Sunday with the game locked in a stalemate and his marauding down the left flank led to the match-winning penalty that was converted by Yohan Cabaye to seal a hard-fought 1-0 victory.
The 22-year-old had been criticised by Eagles boss Alan Pardew following a poor display in defeat at Tottenham but he showed he can cause havoc in Premier League defences as he tricked his way past Allan Nyom before being tripped.
With summer signing Bakary Sako also offering another pacy wide option for Pardew along with Zaha and Bolasie, the DR Congo international concedes one of the trio is likely to miss out on a starting berth for most games.
However, he believes the “fierce” competition for places will be good for the team.
“We started well and were unlucky not to score early,” Bolasie said of the game at Vicarage Road.
“We got the breakthrough when Wilf came on and worked his magic in the box and got us a penalty and Yohan as put it away.
“The competition is fierce, I think whoever gets left out is going to feel hard done by but at the same time they will be ready to react well for the team.”
Bolasie agreed a new three-and-a-half-year contract on Saturday to end speculation over his future after a summer where he was constantly linked with a move to Tottenham.
And the 26-year-old has backed Pardew to bring out the best in him as he looks to improve his final product.
When asked if the Palace boss was the right man to develop his game, he said: “Definitely. I think everyone knows what I need to improve on – and I think it myself – just that final moment.
“Everywhere else on the pitch I think I’m going pretty good, it’s just that last little bit and then I think I can be damaging people.
“I’m delighted to have signed a new contract. Now it’s all about getting on the pitch and doing well for the team, so that’s what I’m going to try to do. I want to replicate what I did last season.
“I’m not really at the pace where I think I could be at, so it’s going to take me a couple of starts to really get going – especially back out on the wing again, because I’ve been playing up front a lot.”
The narrow win at Watford saw the Hornets fall to their first home defeat since returning to the top-flight in the summer.
They travel to fellow promoted side Bournemouth next weekend and Watford defender Sebastian Prodl insists the players will not dwell on the Palace game.
“Today we are disappointed but we have to focus again,” he told the Watford Observer.
“In the Premier League there are 38 games and one game doesn’t decide if you stay in the league or not.
“We have to be creative this week and analyse Bournemouth’s game. We have to be prepared. Of course 10 minutes after a defeat it doesn’t feel good but that is the right emotion. We are not happy with the result or what we were doing. We have to improve.”