Monday 5 December 2016

Yannick Bolasie welcomes competition at Crystal Palace

Published 04/10/2015 | 14:31

Yannick Bolasie, centre, opened the scoring for Crystal Palace on Saturday
Yannick Bolasie, centre, opened the scoring for Crystal Palace on Saturday

Yannick Bolasie broke his Selhurst Park goalscoring duck in Saturday's win over West Brom but he knows he must be at his best to stay in Alan Pardew's Crystal Palace side.

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The Congo international capped an emotional week in which he attended his father's funeral on Thursday by heading home his first home goal since New Year's Day 2013 in the Eagles' 2-0 victory.

It was also the first time Tony Pulis' Baggies have conceded on the road in the Premier League this season - followed up by the second, a Yohan Cabaye penalty, in the closing stages.

The Frenchman's performance was singled out for praise by Pardew as he ran the midfield and finally broke down a resolute West Brom defence with the cross that Bolasie bravely met at the back post.

Bolasie is now getting back to the levels he was at towards the end of last season when he became a reported target for the likes of Tottenham due to his pace and trickery.

But such is the make-up of Pardew's squad that the 26-year-old knows he has to maintain such levels with the likes of Wilfried Zaha - who again shone and won the penalty which Cabaye converted - and Bakary Sako also pushing to be selected as the wingers in Palace's flying side.

"The competition is fierce, there's a lot of players wanting to come in and impress the boss so everyone has to be on their toes," said Bolasie.

"Wilf was unplayable and I thought it was there that everyone could see. He's won two penalties in two games so hopefully he can keep up his form."

The win keeps Palace in and around the business end of the table, but Bolasie - who is now targeting more goals - insists no-one will be getting carried away as they ended Saturday just three points behind leaders Manchester City.

"Third in the table sounds great but we know it's early in the season," he added.

"We just have to take things games by game and see where we go. Yohan basically put the ball on a plate for me but if I'm not in the right place then I'm not going to score, so I've been getting in the box a lot more in training and making it a habit because that's where you score goals.

"I've seen a couple of messages on Twitter saying that I hadn't scored here in two years so I thought 'you know what, I have to score'. That one was for my dad - I'm so proud."

For West Brom, defeat in south London ended a forgettable week for Pulis and his side - with the Welshman losing against his former club having secured a 2-0 win on his first return to Palace last season.

They let slip a two-goal lead to lose at home to Everton on Monday and, after reverting back to the same starting line-up that had beaten local rivals Aston Villa, Pulis could not make sense of his side's performance at Palace.

"We can't go from a performance of all eights (out of 10) and then drop down to fours and threes," he said.

"I'm not picking on one person that's the group. They certainly weren't on it. We've got to sort it out."

Press Association

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