Joel Ward has lauded “tremendous” Crystal Palace star Jeffrey Schlupp, claiming “he is a joy to play with”.
With the Eagles trailing 3-0 to Chelsea at half-time on Saturday, courtesy of goals from Kai Havertz, Christian Pulisic and Kurt Zouma, the Ghanaian was introduced in the 59th minute for Eberechi Eze.Four minutes after his introduction, he assisted Christian Benteke’s goal as Roy Hodgson’s men reduced their deficit against the rampaging Blues.
Nonetheless, their ambition to secure at least a point at home faded into thin air as Pulisic completed his double in the 78th minute, to give the Stamford Bridge giants a comprehensive 4-1 away triumph.
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Although Palace crumbled to their 13th league defeat of the 2020-21 campaign, the Englishman was keen to praise the contribution of his teammate.
"We have to try to find some positives – in the second half there were a few glimpses of what we’re about, Christian [Benteke] up-top deserved his goal and when Jeff [Schlupp] came on he changed the game,” Ward told Premier League Productions per Crystal Palace website.
"Jeff’s got an enormous amount of gifts. He’s a tremendous player and a joy to play with and I think when he comes on and gets direct and starts to drive at players you see his quality shine through.
"On the ball and his final balls were on the money today and were against Everton as well.
“The depth of the squad is strong and when players like Jeff come onto the pitch you know he’s going to have an impact and that’s what he did at times to give the team a lift."
Following his participation against the Blues, Ghana international Schlupp has now featured in 20 league games so far for the Selhurst Park outfit.
With this result, Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea moved to fourth on the English top-flight log having garnered 54 points from 31 matches, whereas Palace occupy the 13th spot with 38 points from the same number of outings.
Next up, the six-time English champions welcome Porto for the reverse fixture of their Champions League last-eight clash on Tuesday, holding a 2-0 lead.
On the other hand, Crystal Palace are not in action until April 26, when they travel to the King Power Stadium for a date with Leicester City.