When it was first announced that Neil Warnock would be returning for a second stint in charge of Crystal Palace, there was a suggestion that Jason Puncheon, who had previously been publicly critical of his new boss, could be on the way out of the club.
Luckily for us, the two appear to have worked through any differences they may have had, with Puncheon’s recent form suggesting that he’s more than happy to be playing for the 64-year-old once again.
Speaking to the press following our victory over Leicester City, Warnock said:
“We had an evening meal together and talked about it.
“I think he is enjoying it here, you have bust-ups and say things. He got told the wrong side of the tale at the time but the last couple of years he has been phenomenal and we are very pleased to have him.
“He probably isn’t getting as much limelight as Yannick (Bolasie), but I have told him he is a marked man this year.
“When they mark Jason tight they leave Yannick space, so it is six of one and half a dozen of the other at the moment. With his contribution he is a manager’s dream at the moment.”
Whilst the thought of Puncheon and Warnock dining as a pair doesn’t conjure up the most comfortable of images, it is fantastic to hear that they have managed to clear the air, after some pretty heated words were exchanged last season.
From the manager’s perspective, the talk certainly seems to have paid off, with Puncheon playing as well as he ever has done in a Palace shirt of late. Saturday’s performance, capped by his assist for our second goal, highlighted just how much of a threat he can be when he’s on his game, and demonstrated perfectly why he and Yannick Bolasie are keeping Wilfried Zaha out of the starting line-up.
I’m guessing Warnock picked up the bill for their dinner, too.