On Thursday evening Wilfried Zaha agreed a five-year contract extension and was pleased to be completing the negotiations just a week after the season’s conclusion
“It is a nice feeling for me personally to get the contract signed as soon as possible after the season,” he said. “It’s a good reassurance to see how much the club believe in me and are backing me and I am delighted to be extending my contract with the club.”
The home victory against Hull City saw the Eagles turn their attention towards preparing for another campaign in the Premier League and the 14th place finish was one that the winger looks back on in a positive frame of mind.
“Looking back I feel it was a good season for me and one that I want to build on what I achieved, but I am already thinking about increasing the number of goals I scored this season. My game is about scoring goals and providing assists so that is something I am always trying to improve on and next season will be no different.
“The squad showed a lot of belief in themselves to make sure that we would remain a Premier League club. We know that the lads have the quality but we needed to realise we were capable of getting the results and played to a structure which meant we had that belief that we could get the results.”
The 24-year-old scored nine goals in the season with two of those named in the Goal of the Season nominations and he had no hesitation in picking his favourite.
“I would have to say that my favourite would be the one away to Hull City in our 3-3 draw. It’s also probably one of the best goals I have scored, and when looking back at those I scored over the season that would be the one that I would pick out.”
Wilfried won both the Players’ and Fans’ Player Of The Year awards and he was grateful that his performances over the whole season were recognised for both awards.
“It was massive for me and it’s so nice to see that all the hard work I am putting in is being appreciated and it’s a tremendous thank you from the fans and also my fellow teammates.
“It gives me such a happy feeling to see that the work I am putting in is being seen and I’m really pleased with the recognition from all concerned.”
Having signed the new contract, attention is already turning to next season and Wilfried believes that Palace should be aiming for further improvement in their record-breaking fifth season in the top-flight.
“I feel we can easily be a top 10 team with some additions to an already-strong squad. Once again, it’s about having that belief, we have finished in 10th before and we can do it again. The club has come a long way in our time in the Premier League but it takes time, and we just need to keep building but that can be done.”
Being one of the squad who grew up close to the stadium, he feels such pride in wearing the red and blue and Zaha just wants to be part of a club that realises its potential and moves onto the next level.
“I used to live literally a minutes’ walk from the stadium so to be one of the fans’ favourites and someone that they voted Player Of the Season gives me such a special feeling. To have such love from the fans is so big for me and is a massive achievement, and one I am so proud of as someone who grew up locally.
“I am delighted I am here to stay and just want to kick-on next season and aim for that finish in the top 10 of the Premier League.”