Norwich City loanee Patrick Bamford’s Crystal Palace return did not follow the script
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Patrick Bamford's Crystal Palace return failed to follow the script for Alex Neil.
The highly-rated Chelsea loan striker cut short a similar spell this season at Selhurst Park after just nine appearances and no goals.
Bamford was roundly booed by the Eagles' support when he made a second-half cameo that Neil envisaged would offer the perfect right of reply for the 22-year-old.
'It was tailor-made for him,' he said. 'It was one of those where you guys (in the press) would have loved him to pop up and score the winner because that would have been the story. It would have been ideal for me and him as well.
'It is quite common players who have had a bad time somewhere go back and do well.
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'I brought him on at Swansea and (Aston) Villa and he looked dangerous in both of those so I hoped it was written in the stars but unfortunately that wasn't the case. Most players thrive on that negativity if they get booed, it is the pantomime villain mentality if you like and it normally brings the best out of you. The one thing I would say is he is a very young lad and that will be a good learning curve for him.'
Bamford's arrival was Neil's response to Wilfried Zaha's introduction for the home side just past the hour mark with the game drifting at 0-0.
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But within two minutes of the England Under-21 international duo's arrival, Puncheon had settled the contest with a clinical curling effort after cutting in from the right flank to collect Joel Ward's pass.
'I put Patrick on before the goal because they were putting Zaha on at that time and that was the signal they were going to go for it a little bit more,' said Neil. 'With Patrick going on the idea was that might help stretch the game and give us something at the top end.
'I thought the game was set-up for him against an ex-team if you like where he didn't have a good time.'