Kevin Phillips admits he didn’t know what to do when the final whistle was blown after Monday’s Championship Play-Off Final victory over Watford.
The veteran striker had experienced defeat in his three previous play-off finals, with Sunderland, West Bromwich Albion and, most recently, alongside Ian Holloway at Blackpool.
But it was Phillips’ extra time penalty that secured a 1-0 win for Palace – and made it fourth time lucky for the man who started his professional career with the Hornets.
Speaking to Palace Player after the memorable match at Wembley, Phillips said: “I’ve experienced three losses in these games and I didn’t know what it was like to win. When that final whistle went, I didn’t know what to do, celebrate or cry. I think I did a bit of everything! And you saw what it means to the supporters too.
“It’s a magnificent feeling. I’ve won here in the Carling Cup, but this is something special – the most expensive game in the world. It’s just incredible.”
Phillips spoke highly of winger Wilfired Zaha, who helped the Eagles soar into the Premier League in his final game for the club.
It was the 20-year-old’s pace and trickery that won Palace the decisive spot kick – and in turn a £120m pay day.
Phillips said of Zaha: “He was magnificent. It would have been a fine display if he would have capped it with a goal, but he got the penalty and I think he gave both full-backs a torrid time. He showed the world what he is capable of and he’ll certainly go on and get better.”
But the 39-year-old striker, whose play-off final winner was his seventh goal since joining on loan from Blackpool in January, was also quick to highlight what was a solid team display at Wembley.
“I think that’s what makes it more pleasing – the lads deserved it,” Phillips said.
“You saw towards the end, the defending, putting their bodies on the line, we had to draw on our experience and I think overall we certainly deserved to win the game.”
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