Alan Pardew was quick to reference Mark Clattenburg’s decision to send off Dwight Gayle as they turning point in yesterday’s home defeat to West Ham United.
Openly proud of his players’ efforts in the 45 minutes that followed Gayle’s dismissal, the Palace boss rightly felt that the decision to put us down to 10 men had a huge impact on the game as a contest, with the referee lacking a degree of common sense in asking Dwight to leave the field after what was just his second foul of the day.
Whilst West Ham did assert their dominance during the second half, the opening 45 minutes were an extremely close affair, delicately balanced and able to go either way until the sending off, when we as the hosts were forced to dig in and attempt to grind out a point.
Without the services of Connor Wickham, Gayle’s early bath led Pardew into bringing off Wilfried Zaha and replacing him with Bakary Sako, which, whilst well intentioned, saw us lose a huge amount of our attacking edge, regardless of the newly implemented numerical disadvantage. It was not the manager of the 10 remaining players’ faults as such, but in reality, we badly need the big man back to full fitness and available for selection.
Many will moan at the sound of Pardew referencing the referee as a pivotal factor in yesterday’s defeat, but in the grand scheme of things, he knows that there is little to no mileage in coming out and publicly lambasting Dwight Gayle for a moment of red mist which he has already apologised for.
Management is reguarly about doing what is right for the team as a whole rather than what feels necessary from an individual and impulsive perspective, thankfully, that is a facet of the profession which Alan Pardew understands fully, leaving us to lick our wounds and move onto Leicester next week with a renewed sense of purpose to our preparations.
Pardew’s interview with Sky Sports News is attached above.