Crystal Palace boss Patrick Vieira hailed Wilfried Zaha’s performance in the draw with Norwich despite his second-half penalty miss, telling the forward the display should be his benchmark for the rest of the season.
Zaha’s night went from the sublime to the ridiculous with a superb solo equaliser followed by an awful spot-kick as Palace came from behind to draw 1-1 at Carrow Road.
After Tuesday’s results, the Canaries needed a win to move out of the Premier League relegation zone but they had to settle for a point.
Teemu Pukki’s first goal in over 11 and a half hours had the hosts ahead after just 39 seconds but Dean Smith’s side could not make it four wins from four.
Instead, they were pegged back on the hour by a fine Zaha effort, the Ivory Coast international curling home from the edge of the area on his first appearance since Boxing Day.
He then had a fine chance to win it for the Eagles, who have now won just two of their last 12 league games, but he scuffed a tame penalty well wide after Tyrick Mitchell had been fouled by Max Aarons.
Ahead of the game, Vieira had called for more consistency from Zaha and was pleased with the his performance.
“It was a fantastic goal, Wilf at his best,” he said.
“We need him to produce more goals and performances like that. He was really good for us. I think the goal of course was fantastic, it is one of the goals of the month. It was an unbelievable finish, but what I was really happy with was his performance.
“He played well, he worked well and he created chances, that is the Wilfried Zaha I want to see for the rest of the season.
“It is the Wilfried Zaha I want to see, the one who works hard with his team-mates and with the other players to create chances.
“I don’t forget the number of penalties he has scored for us but it is part of the game, when you look at the goal he scored and the impact he had on the game today, I think it is a good benchmark for him for what I want from him for the rest of the season.”
Norwich remain in the relegation zone but would have settled for a share of the spoils having struggled to create chances in the second half.
The Canaries have now lost just once since a 3-0 defeat at Selhurst Park on December 29 and head coach Smith feels this result could yet prove vital.
“No one knows how big that point could be,” he said.
“It’s important we didn’t lose the game, but we are disappointed, we could have gone on from the goal we scored. Deserved draw for both teams.
“I thought they solved the problems that we gave them and we knew it had to be changed and it was how to change, who we brought off and do we bring one of the centre-forwards off. Unfortunately, they scored during the period we needed to change it.”