Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish has slammed Manchester United over their treatment of Wilfried Zaha, claiming that they must take the blame for his failure to produce at Old Trafford.
After making over 100 appearances during his first spell at Selhurst Park, Zaha joined United in January 2013, returning to the London club on loan for the remainder of that season.
He made just two Premier League appearances during his time in Manchester, with just two further games in cup competitions. He spent loan spells at Cardiff City and again at Palace before returning to his former club on a permanent basis.
United made a huge loss on the deal – having spent an estimated initial fee of £10m on the player, selling him back to Palace for just £3m.
The Daily Express quote both Parish and the player himself, who admitted that the experience badly damaged his confidence and led him to question his worth as a player. The two-time England international has since scored three goals this season.
Parish told reporters: “It did not work for him up there and we came to a good arrangement with Manchester United. He’s a great lad, and I would not say it has damaged him, but that experience of him going there and it not working out set him back a little bit.
“I don’t know what happened up there, but it is certainly not all one-sided. There was a change of management just as he went there, Sir Alex bought him and he was not there when he arrived.
“There’s been a bit of a maelstrom there over the past couple of years with the transition of the squad they had and Wilf got caught up in that a bit. There was no malice [from United] and they think he is a good player.”
Zaha added: “There is nothing worse than not being involved. You are sitting there thinking ‘what exactly am I? A footballer who is not playing football?’
“You feel a bit worthless sitting in the stands, watching all the time. You have nothing to speak about with the players. I’m frustrated when I am not playing. My family is frustrated. My friends are frustrated.”