Sam Allardyce: It is the Crystal Palace chairman's responsibility to keep Wilfried Zaha at this club

Tom Prentki
The Telegraph
Wilfried Zaha was Crystal Palace's star performer - Copyright (c) 2017 Rex Features. No use without permission.
Wilfried Zaha was Crystal Palace's star performer - Copyright (c) 2017 Rex Features. No use without permission.

Sam Allardyce says it is the “chairman’s responsibility” to keep Wilfried Zaha at the club this summer.

The former Manchester United winger has been the subject of rumoured interest from Tottenham in recent months but Allardyce says that he is unconcerned by agent talk.

“Spurs were always mentioned because agents or somebody decided to stir the pot,” said the Crystal Palace manager.

“We all know who stirs the pot, behind the scenes, even though they deny it,” he smiled.

Zaha was the star performer in a drab game at Selhurst Park on Saturday when Palace recorded their third-straight win and clean sheet with a 1-0 victory over Watford.

Palace captain Jason Puncheon described Zaha’s contribution to that run as “pivotal” and Allardyce revealed it has been a very simple task getting the best from his gifted winger.

<span>Wilfried Zaha has a shot on goal</span> <span>Credit: REX FEATURES </span>
Wilfried Zaha has a shot on goal Credit: REX FEATURES

“Sometimes he looks a bit miserable so I say, ‘Wilf, come on lad, you’re the luckiest’ because he doesn’t realise how enjoyable this game is. Smile, smile, smile. You need to enjoy yourself because it doesn’t last as long as you think it does.”

Zaha was only able to parade his abundant talent in bursts before he was subjected to an onslaught of fouls which were shared out amongst the Watford players.

“He gets terrible treatment off the opposition because he’s so skillful,” said Allardyce. “He gets kicked as much as (Eden) Hazard. He’s got to realise that’s down to his genius ability, that these lads can’t cope, and because they can’t cope they’ve got to end up fouling him all the time.”

Hornets right-back Craig Cathcart was the player most frequently confronted by an impish Zaha and believes the Eagles winger is one of the best he’s faced.

<span>Wilfried Zaha tussles for the ball with Craig Cathcart</span> <span>Credit: REUTERS </span>
Wilfried Zaha tussles for the ball with Craig Cathcart Credit: REUTERS

“On his day he is more or less unplayable and I think he has a great future ahead of him,” said Cathcart.

Watford manager Walter Mazzarri shrugged off talk of an impending relegation fight, despite the club winning only twice in 13 games, but Catchcart is less relaxed.

“We can’t afford to drop too many more points, the next three games are massive for us,” said the Northern Ireland defender. “We’ve got 31 points and we have to get to that 40-point mark as quickly as possible. We can’t afford to be complacent.”

Nor can Palace ahead of a difficult-looking set of fixtures when they play five of the top six.

“It’s a bit daunting with Man Utd away, Man City away, Liverpool away, Arsenal at home and Spurs at home,” said Allardyce. “The other games are going to be critical for us to try and get three points.”

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