Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew has hailed the impact of Bakary Sako since the Mali international’s arrival from Wolves during the close-season.
Despite stepping up a level to the Premier League, the winger has settled quickly at Selhurst Park and made it two goals in as many appearances in Palace’s impressive 2-1 victory at champions Chelsea on Saturday.
“He’s been a real boost for us and the two wins we wouldn’t have had – against Aston Villa [last weekend] and Chelsea – without him,” said Pardew.
“We sensed he was a Crystal Palace player in the way he plays, but he threatens the goal and we didn’t always do that from wide areas.
“[Wilfried] Zaha and [Yannick] Bolasie probably don’t get enough goals but he will.”
Sako put Palace in front shortly after the hour mark, before Radamel Falcao looked to have earned Chelsea a share of the spoils in the 79th minute.
However, the visitors responded quickly, with Joel Ward heading home the winner from a Sako assist two minutes later.
“We were very good,” added Pardew. “I thought it was a cracking Premier League game.
“Chelsea played their part – I thought they were good.
“We were resilient, we had a good attitude to the game and there was kind of a belief in us. I sensed it in the dressing room and on the sideline I sensed it.
“It’s important to be on the front foot at places like this and we kept creating chances and that’s very difficult to do here. To overcome the power of that team takes some real considerable effort.
“This team is definitely better than last year because we have better technical players. And if we can keep the spirit we had [against Chelsea], we’ll be a good team.”
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