Alan Pardew admits Jason Puncheon had a point to prove against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.
At the end of a testing week for the winger, he was charged with the task of delivering a top Premier League performance for Crystal Palace.
Puncheon did not disappoint as he netted the winner in a 2-1 victory over Spurs at Selhurst Park.
Pardew, in his first top-flight outing as the Eagles boss, was delighted to see a man he has previously worked with at Southampton show his true colours.
He was full of praise for the 28-year-old at the final whistle, with his reign getting off the best possible start with derby success – on the back of an FA Cup third round win last weekend.
Pardew told the club’s official website: “Jason Puncheon has had a poor week with behaviour that was unacceptable, he needed to show us, in the only way he can as a footballer, what it means to a player at this club and he went out on the pitch and did it with the perfect response. He gave a man of the match performance and his technical ability is phenomenal.
“I am so pleased I gave him an opportunity at Southampton and the opposition manager today made him a much better player than when I had him and now I inherit what is a Premier League wide player. He goes away with the plaudits and deserves it, he was brilliant today.”
Puncheon has become a key performer for Palace, with the creativity he provides on one flank complemented perfectly on the opposite side of the field by Yannick Bolasie.
The pair have not always delivered an end product, as Opta statistics proved prior to the Spurs victory, but they remain a handful for any defence on their day.
Pardew now needs to bring that kind of form out of them on a more consistent basis, with the club moving in the right direction again and back out of the Premier League relegation zone.