Mateta: Hughes praises Franco-Congolese forward’s improved goalscoring form

Mateta: Hughes praises Franco-Congolese forward’s improved goalscoring form

Crystal Palace midfielder Will Hughes says that Jean-Philippe Mateta is deserving of his current run of goalscoring form.

The Franco-Congolese forward struck twice in Wednesday’s 2-0 home win over Newcastle United, taking his tally to nine goals in his last 12 league games, including five in his last four.

It has been a total transformation for Mateta who had only scored twice all season before the current run he is on, and Hughes asserted that the 26-year-old is now reaping the rewards for his hardwork.

“He deserves it,” Hughes said. “He has been working hard on and off the ball. It’s a difficult role to play as a lone striker, but he deserves it.

“He has been grafting, and he is getting the rewards now.”

Hughes added: “He’s shown his quality, and he’s getting his rewards now for all the hard work he’s putting in.

“We’ve got a quality front line, even on the bench. We’ve got strong players on the bench that can come in and affect the game, but he’s been brilliant so far, so hopefully he can keep it up.”

Hughes assisted Mateta for Palace’s second goal and the latter was happy for the former’s contribution.

“I’m happy – [Hughesy] gives me an assist, so very happy,” Mateta said. “I know the ball is going to come, I shoot, and I’m lucky the ball goes through the legs.

“And watch the celebration – fantastique!”

Wednesday’s victory was Palace’s third straight win and sees them maintain 14th place on the table, 14 points clear of the relegation zone.

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