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First Team

WATCH: Zaha On Pressure, Criticism, The Diving Bandwagon. And Brighton…

12 April 2018

Wilfried Zaha’s excellent solo effort at Bournemouth looked to have given Palace maximum points last Saturday with 15 minutes of the match remaining but a late equaliser meant that the club go into Saturday's crunch match with Brighton just three points outside the relegation zone.

With games running out, the disappointment that was felt in the Palace camp on the south coast must now be left behind. For some, that is easier to do than for others, as the Eagles’ mercurial winger admits he is someone who dwells on results and performances that don’t meet his high standards. 

Speaking to Palace TV in an exclusive and revealing interview, Zaha said: “There are certain players who as soon as the game's done, they are onto a clean slate and move on. But me personally, I can't do that at all.

“My family come and watch me and after games we can spend all evening talking about it, even into the next day. Eventually I let it go, but I have to go through things where I think I could do better and we speak about what we could do better as a team. I probably let it slide the next day and move on.”

Zaha has spoken previously about people mis-interpreting his focus, determination and ultra-high standards, for sulkiness. He explained: “You can see exactly how I feel - I don't hide nothing at all. If I'm annoyed, you will see I'm annoyed. If I'm happy, you'll see that I'm happy. When I score a goal, you'll see how passionate I am about it. Because I've got a winning mentality.

"I'm sure people see that throughout games, I moan quite a bit. I was annoyed with myself [at Bournemouth] because I demand a lot from myself anyway. People talk about pressure during games, but I just put pressure on myself, because I feel like [to become] the player I want to be, I need to be doing better in certain games. Certain things I do just need to be better.”

Zaha’s silky feet were in full swing for his stunning solo on the south coast last week. But the winger is keen to ensure he’s not just known for his skills: “I tried loads of tricks when I was young. I did them over and over, so that's not something that I'm lacking. It's other things that I feel like I need to get better at. Everyone knows I do skills, but the things I want to test myself on are my awareness, my decision-making and just shooting. They're the main things. The roulette [seconds before his strike against Bournemouth] was the easy part.  It's just [a case of me] building up the confidence to take a shot like I did on Saturday and that's what you get from it. It's about having the confidence to take the shot.”

Memories of matches against Brighton always bring a smile to the face of the 25 year old, with his two away goals in the Play-off Semi-Final of 2013 at the Amex setting up the Wembley showpiece with Watford as the club eventually regained their place in the top flight.

But ahead of this crucial match against Palace's arch rivals, Zaha wants to let his football do the talking on the pitch. “I get so much stick from them but I don't even want to talk about it. I feel like there's no need for us to have the debate. I don't feel like they're better than us. I am just looking forward to the game.”

And with a glint in his eye, Zaha left a parting shot to the old enemy: “We just need to get the game over and done with, beat them, and they can just go back to wherever they came from.”

Watch this exclusive interview with Wilfried Zaha in full, by clicking play below.

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