Christian Benteke’s third goal of the season showed Crystal Palace’s ambitious transfer plans were justified, their manager Alan Pardew argued.
The Belgian’s header secured Palace a 1-1 draw at Everton. It was their fourth Premier League game without defeat and maintained Crystal Palace’s unbeaten record at Goodison Park which now stretches back 11 years.
Pardew said Benteke’s goals demonstrated that investing £32m on a striker who was judged a failure at Liverpool last season had been a sound investment despite some initial misgivings from the board at Selhurst Park.
“He was our number-one target all summer,” he said. “We kept pushing Steve Parish (the Crystal Palace chairman). He hummed and harred. There were questions from America (where the club’s billionaire investor Joshua Harris is based) but I thought Christian was unlucky at Liverpool.
“He needed a run of games. Andy Carroll and Ricky Lambert, who I had at Southampton, were the same. It is difficult for big guys to come in and out. We are really pleased with him and he has not been on the losing side for us which I think goes to show the level he is at.
“He is a handful. I don’t think there is a full-back in the league who can cope with him. The ball for the goal was right on the money and, if we can get quality balls in, we know he is going to score.” Asked if Benteke was the best header of a ball he had managed, Pardew replied that for pure technique Teddy Sheringham, who played under him at West Ham, was probably the best.
Although the Everton manager, Ronald Koeman, thought his side were ‘lucky’ to have seen Damien Delaney’s header, which would have given Palace victory, ruled out for offside, Pardew was disinclined to make much of it. “It was very, very tight,” he said. “I can accept mistakes. I have seen my teams given goals that were yards offside.”
Although Romelu Lukaku produced a superb free-kick to give Everton a deserved lead in the first half, the wall was criticised by the Palace keeper, Steve Mandanda for not jumping to meet the shot. Delaney explained the wall was aware of Kevin de Bruyne’s technique of shooting the ball underneath a jumping wall at Manchester City and so stayed still. Pardew, however, said: “I think in future our goalkeeper would like them to jump.”
Asked how he saw Everton as the club went into the second international break of the season Koeman said: “Did you really think Everton would be higher than this after seven games?”Reuse content