O'Shea left floundering as Pardew works his magic on Bolasie
Sunderland 1Crystal Palace 4
Published 13/04/2015 | 02:30
Everything Alan Pardew touches at Crystal Palace turns to goals.
His latest convert is Yannick Bolasie, who claimed it was the extra work his new manager had done with him on the training ground that led to him scoring the club's first Premier League hat-trick.
Bolasie was the star of a superb second-half performance from Palace that ripped Sunderland apart, destroying the confidence gained from a derby win over Newcastle the previous weekend and inflicting serious damage on their survival hopes.
Palace had been the better side in the first half, but they were persistently let down by the final ball at the end of their thrusting offensive moves.
Sunderland were pinned back, but at half-time they were still in the game.
They were defeated in just six second-half minutes as Glenn Murray headed in Bolasie's deflected cross. Bolasie then helped himself to two goals, running through the middle of a floundering Sunderland defence.
Alarmingly, it was the home captain and supposedly best defender, John O'Shea, who was largely at fault. That sums up Sunderland's problems.
It took Bolasie just 11 minutes to score his hat-trick, by which time more than half of Sunderland's supporters had departed in disgust.
Bolasie had scored only one goal this season before the trip to Wearside. Like everything at Palace, the Congolese international has been reinvigorated by Pardew.
"That is what the manager has been demanding from me," said Bolasie.
"He has been on to me in the last couple of weeks to try to score more goals and wanting them in training, too.
"Everything just came together against Sunderland.
"He has been putting me right in the middle of sessions, even doing the lay-ups for me, and it has been good. He has put sessions on that have been especially for the strikers, we go off and do our thing with him and the defenders do their own session together."
Connor Wickham's goal in stoppage time is barely worth mentioning. For the second time in three home games, Sunderland conceded four goals in one half.
"If we carry on performing like this, we've got no chance," said Sunderland manager Dick Advocaat, with typical bluntness.
Ireland manager Martin O'Neill will be keeping a close eye on Sunderland's fortunes - not least because O'Shea is the lynchpin of his defence. (© Daily Telegraph, London)