Andros Townsend has backed under-fire Crystal Palace teammate Christian Benteke - defending the Belgian forward who has come under criticism for his poor goal return since joining the London outfit.
Benteke, who cost the Eagles a club-record £30m in 2016, has only scored three goals in his last 35 Premier League appearances and could soon lose his starting spot under Roy Hodgson if he can't find form in front of goal.
The former Aston Villa and Liverpool forward wasted several chances during Palace's defeat to Watford on the weekend, yet Townsend has stood up in his defence, claiming that the striker has been playing very well despite his goal drought.
“People focus on his goal record but he has offered a lot and played very well again,” Townsend explained to Standard Sport. “With strikers people tend to forget about the performance if they don’t score but Christian was good on Sunday and I’m sure he’ll be good again on Saturday.
“It was a frustrating day for everyone. Christian played very well again. He had a chance [with a header from Townsend’s cross] but the goalkeeper made a great save.
"He worked hard, he won a lot of headers, running the channel and causing all sorts of problems.”
Despite Palace's worrying start to the season - the Eagles only have three points to show after playing three games - Townsend is optimistic over their chances of surviving another Premier League campaign.
They have started this term better than they did the last, and the attacker seems to be feeling quite hopeful ahead of their Saturday clash with Southampton, which would leave them with six points from their first four matches if they can snag a win.
“Of course we’re optimistic, but we know from last season that you can have similar fixtures and end up losing all seven,” he continued. “There’s no easy games, whether you’re playing Liverpool or Watford.
“We’ll just have to work hard and keep producing performances like we have. Hopefully, the rub of the green will come and we will start winning.
"The positive is we’ve played well but we haven’t got the points we deserve. If we win on Saturday [at home to Southampton], six points from our first four games would be not bad. Not great, but not bad at all.”