Alan Pardew - We had to ride our luck at Norwich City
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Alan Pardew could afford to be generous in his praise of the Canaries after Crystal Palace endured an opening day fright at Carrow Road.
The Eagles' survived a ferocious early onslaught and were later indebted to referee Hooper who decided not to award Cameron Jerome's second half strike, which would have fully cancelled out the visitors' two-goal advantage.
Connor Wickham's apparent shove on Seb Bassong inside the Palace penalty area in stoppage time also went unpunished as Pardew's expensively-assembled squad got off to a winning start.
'After about five minutes I realised I'd picked the wrong team,' he said. 'I didn't think the balance of the team was very good. Norwich were brilliant in the first 20 minutes, should've gone ahead, we were lucky to stay in the game at that point. Sometimes, as a manager, your players have to get you out of jail as well. I thanked them at the end for that. It has been a great day for us.
'We were looking forward to this game because we knew it would be a really slippery one. We looked comfortable until we made a tiny error and it is 2-1 and then the game is in the balance. Norwich perhaps had a great couple of moments, and the margins are that small. A game that looked over was suddenly alive and we hang on. We scored with the last kick of the game and there's no doubt that flattered us.'
Pardew had plenty of sympathy for Alex Neil over the manner of Jerome's disallowed goal for dangerous play, after he acrobatically despatched a close range bicycle kick.
'I went to him (the referee) and said 'why have you disallowed it?' and he said 'dangerous play in the box'. To be fair to him, if it's anywhere else on the pitch - and my guy's head is right on the end of his foot - you're going to get a foul,' said Pardew. 'In the penalty area, if an overhead kick from the striker goes in, you're disappointed to see it ruled out. I would be disheartened by that. If Yannick Bolasie scores that, I'd feel hard done by. I understand Norwich's frustration. If it is in the middle of the pitch it is definitely a foul for us because obviously it is going to damage someone's head but there it is up in the air.'
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Pardew was less willing to accept City's late penalty claims for a push on Bassong.
'I didn't think it was. Connor is a big, strong boy and stood his ground,' he said. 'I didn't see much in that. I don't think that was a penalty because that is him making a big meal of a little nudge, but I accept the disallowed goal is tough for them.'