After scoring two goals on his return to the Crystal Palace line-up, Marouane Chamakh spoke of his pride as his side beat Southampton and reach the FA Cup fifth round for the first time in five years.
The striker, who had been missing for six weeks with a hamstring injury, scored twice before half-time and produced a man-of-the-match display in the hour he featured for at St Mary’s as the Eagles registered their fourth straight victory under Alan Pardew.
Chamakh admitted that he was excited to return to a team brimming with confidence after that run of form, and was happy to play a key role in helping them continue that, as well as booking their place in the draw on Monday, thanks to his brace.
After the match, he said: “I’m happy because we won and I scored, but we were also better than them and that’s why I’m very proud of this victory.
“I was really happy to get two goals as during the week I didn’t know I was going to start the game as I haven’t played for the last six weeks. I found out I was playing on Thursday so it was really important for me to enjoy the sensation of playing with the team again because they’ve played really well since the new manager arrived and I wanted to continue in the same way.”
The Moroccan striker quickly gelled with his new strike partner Yaya Sanogo and the pair troubled the Saints defence during their time on the field together, with the Arsenal loanee grabbing his first goal for Palace in the 21st minute, which Chamakh believes will do him the world of good.
“It was our first game together and I think we had some chemistry,” he added. “I’m really happy he scored, rather than myself, because he’s going to be more confident for us and I think he’ll do well this season.”
After being withdrawn by Pardew just after the hour mark, the striker revealed that his hamstring was feeling fine after the layoff, and now he is back to match fitness he is hoping that after some shock results this afternoon Palace can push on and reach the latter stages of the cup.
“At the moment everything is OK,” Chamakh said. “It was a big injury for me last month so now I feel OK and it was good to play for an hour.
“Every team when they start this competition want to go all the way but we really want to do something special with this team. We have a good atmosphere and we want to do something great together like win the FA Cup.”