Belfast Telegraph

Alan Pardew retains Christian Benteke as Crystal Palace penalty taker

Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew believes Christian Benteke remains the right player to take penalties ahead of their Premier League game with Leicester on Saturday.

The 25-year-old striker missed a penalty in the 1-0 defeat against West Ham last weekend - his second miss from the spot this season.

The Eagles manager sat down with Benteke after the defeat to discuss the penalty and, while he subsequently decided to keep the Belgian on penalty duty, he warned he has to "make sure" he scores his next spot-kick.

"We had some conflicting opinions on the penalty which you would do," Pardew said.

"I have great faith in him. I think it is important that your striker continues to score goals.

"I have always encouraged my centre forward to take penalties and there is a reason for that.

"When they have a patch when they are not scoring and a penalty comes along, suddenly they can get their rhythm back.

"Christian isn't in a hole at the moment but he just got it wrong. It happens.

"We have to accept it but he has to make sure he scores the next one."

Palace face a Leicester side who return to Premier League action after beating FC Copenhagen 1-0 on Tuesday, which saw them increase their advantage at the top of their Champions League group to five points.

The Foxes have faced some criticism for their form in the league so far this season and lie 13th in the table having won just two games, but Pardew does not believe they are a side in trouble.

"Winning their first three Champions League games, they look like they are really struggling don't they?" he joked.

"I think (their league form) is natural. They will certainly finish in the top-eight even from the position they are in.

"They have had an unbelievable season, they are attacking the Champions League which you would expect and their league form has dipped a little bit.

"They won the league because they have character in the dressing room and that character will come through.

"They are the champions. They are missing Ka nte, they haven't quite got their balance right to replace him but any side would.

"He has proved himself at Chelsea, he is probably their best player. It just goes to show the standard of players they have at Leicester."

The defeat against the Hammers was Palace's first in the league since their opening two games of the season, and Pardew is hopeful that his players have learnt from the mistakes.

"We come back after a disappointing game against West Ham in the first half where we didn't dictate the game as I would have liked so I am looking at how my team are going to respond," he said.

"My team need to turn up at Leicester, we were very close in both games last year but they edged them.

"We are confident against anybody. We are a good side and we can go toe to toe against anybody.

"Certainly this fixture is a game that will be very tight."


From Belfast Telegraph