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      Ayew ranks Goal of the Month winner against his best for Palace


      What a fortnight for Jordan Ayew: a new contract extension, a role in both of Crystal Palace’s goals against Burnley – and now, you've voted his thunderbolt against Tottenham Hotspur as your Palace Goal of the Month for October!

      The Eagles might have ultimately fallen to defeat against Spurs, but Ayew’s superb chest control and ferocious outside-of-the-boot finish kick-started a fightback which almost culminated in an injury-time comeback.

      The strike received 48.0% of supporters’ votes, with Araya Dennis’ wonder-goal for Palace Women against Charlton earning 20.8%, and Malcolm Ebiowei’s curling effort for the Under-21s against Monaco taking third place with 12.4%.

      Jordan Ayew relives his key goals

      Goal of the Month caps a fine campaign so far for Ayew, who has already recorded four assists this season.

      The forward also won Palace’s cinch Player of the Month award for August, and was awarded the Ghana captaincy for the first time, securing his nation’s qualification for the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations with a win over Central African Republic.

      To celebrate his latest award, the 32-year-old took to the Palace TV studio to relive some of his favourite Palace memories – and goals.

      The forward recalled: “When I first joined, it wasn't that easy because I wasn't playing much and the team was doing well. The manager [Roy Hodgson] was always speaking to me, and I had the support from the club as well.

      “I had a couple of games and I tried to do my best, but I felt like I could have done more. With time, when I look back at it, I'll just take the positives out of it.”

      Reflecting on his first goal for the club – in a 2-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers on 2nd January 2019, at Molineux – Ayew recalled: “I think it was just after New Year's! I had family around at home and we had a nice evening and everything like that.

      “Going into the game, I was like, ‘I'm going to go, but I'm not sure I'm going to play.’ Sometimes things happen… and I started that game and I scored. I think we won 2-0. It was a very important game as well for us, and a very important goal for me.

      “It was my first goal for the club, and it's always important to score for a striker. I was kind of emotional because I was really in a dark period at that time. Scoring that goal was really important for me.”

      The first of 20 in 187 Palace appearances – but did Ayew anticipate becoming a south London icon over the course of five-and-a-bit seasons? “It’s crazy,” he admits. “I never expected to stay that long. In life, you cannot predict things, I always say.

      “Each day you keep on working, you keep on pushing, and things change in life. Decisions change. You just keep going and doing what you know how to do best, which is to play football and enjoy your game.”

      On his manager Hodgson, who brought him to the club, Ayew beamed: “It's just exceptional. With him, I just feel a different vibe. He gives you responsibility. I like to have responsibilities.

      “He gives you confidence, he gives you belief, and he gives you opportunities to express yourself. That's why we, the forward players under him, are flourishing. He gives us the opportunity to express ourselves.

      “Everyone has their own talent and skills, and he gives you the opportunity to express yourself. That's why all of us enjoy playing under him.”

      Ayew’s eighth goal for the club would prove many Palace fans’ favourites: a 1-0 winner over Brighton & Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium, in a season – 2019/20 – he went on to claim: Player of the Season and Players’ Player of the Season.

      Asked about his tendency, then, to run away from the away fans after scoring: “You don't pay attention when you score, you just want to celebrate, and you don't really know where you are because you have three seconds of madness when you score! Sometimes your reactions take you in a different direction.

      “Obviously, it was a big goal. I remember this goal. It was 1-0, it was the only goal. It was a really, really tough game. It's always enjoyable to score against Brighton because it's the rival. For me to score the winner was a big thing.

      “It was a season where things were going on the right for me. That's when I felt like I was settled at a football club, and I had more to give to the football club. That was a season that made me understand that I had a part to play for this football club.”

      The other likely contender for ‘favourite Ayew goal’ among Palace supporters also came that season: the forward’s remarkable spin against West Ham United, also in 2019/20 – a deserved winner of the Goal of the Season award.

      “For me, this is the best goal I've ever scored in my whole career,” Ayew admits. “It's just a moment of madness.

      “Sometimes, as a player, things just come into your head. You just want to make something happen. You want something to happen. You want to score the winner. You want to make an assist. You need to invent something and something needs to happen.

      “Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't work. Fortunately for me, it worked, and for the team it was a successful night.”

      Throughout his career, Ayew’s tendency to impact matches late on has persisted: 19 of his 82 career goals have fallen in the first-half, with 62 in the second.

      “I don't know why,” he smiled. “When I'm on the pitch, I think it's my mindset.

      “I'm just a different animal. The way I psych myself and I make sure that I have 100 minutes to give, and I make sure that after this 100 minutes, when I get off the pitch, I have no regrets. Whether we win, we lose, I have no regrets. I make sure I give my all.

      “Having a background of footballers, like my dad and ex-players, they always tell you as a striker you always have to stay focused and stay in the game because you never know when your chance will come. So that's the mindset I have and that's the mentality I always use.

      “I don't know why it's always at the last minute but sometimes the thing is that in the Premier League, especially for a team like Palace, I feel like the first-half is always even. It's always tight. Sometimes we do score in the first-half but most of our goals, I think, are more in the second-half.”

      Is that mentality a reason why an on-field smile from Ayew is seen as something as a rarity? “I try to [smile]! It's something I try to work on because even the females in my family – my mum, my aunties – it's something that they complain about: ‘cheer up, enjoy life. You're doing a wonderful job. You need to enjoy every day. You wake up and you say, thank God, blah, blah, blah’ and so on!

      “It's something that I'm working on and I think I have massively improved in my opinion. Obviously, I'm on the pitch and I can't really smile when I'm on the pitch because I'm working, so it's hard for me to smile.

      “But it's something that I'm really working on. It doesn't mean that I'm not happy or I'm angry with someone. It's just my way of focusing on the game and when I'm focused on the game, I'm just right into the game. There's nothing else I'm thinking about."

      Finally, reflecting on his latest goal – that Goal of the Month winner against Spurs – Ayew admitted, despite the defeat: “I'll still take it because, for my confidence personally and for the team, it's important for us as strikers to keep on scoring.

      “Whether it's me, whether it's [Odsonne] Edouard, whether it's Ebs [Eze] or [Michael] Olise, JP [Mateta], Jeff [Schlupp], it's important for us to keep on scoring because it gives us more energy to keep on pushing and to keep on wanting to score more goals.”

      The strike was reviewed by VAR for a possible handball, but Ayew noted: “I was confident, because obviously I saw that the ball came in the last second. To adjust myself, my hand was like this, and my body was like this.

      “It's actually one of my best goals. I don't care how I score, but I just want more goals for the team because we are really ambitious and we really want to make a mark this season.

      “There's still more to come. I’m on the right track and I need to keep on pushing and keep on pushing the young ones along with me for us to be successful in the seasons to come, because obviously we have a lot of talent.”