The former Newcastle United striker joined Palace yesterday as a free agent.
"Shola is a player that doesn't play every game, he never did at Newcastle," Pardew said.
"But when big games come around he has this ability to raise his level. He scored fabulous goals for me in big games at Newcastle and that ingredient is important.
"There will be tension and players will be nervous from now until the end of the year.
"Shola won't be exhibiting that and he will spread that around the group.
"He's a real leader of men, a real gentleman. He's more than just a player to me."
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