Crystal Palace boss is concerned at label attached to Wilfried Zaha – and explains why it is unfair

Southampton's Oriol Romeu (left) and Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha battle for the ball

By Anthony Scales

Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson has spoken of his frustration his side do not always get the benefit of the doubt from referees when star man Wilfried Zaha is fouled because of a perception the attacker is a diver.

And the Eagles manager defended his forward against what he feels is an unfair reputation for ‘simulation’.

“Of course we’re concerned about it,” said Hodgson. “But there’s been such a – I won’t call it a campaign – but there is so much written and said, and people have discussed it, in particular after the Man City game where we got a late penalty.

“Unfortunately at the moment that does seem to be the buzz [around Zaha] and I’m afraid we have to live with that, I think it’s unfair, of course. After all there were several occasions [against Arsenal on Saturday] when he was fouled and unbalanced and we didn’t get a free-kick but there’s no point complaining about that, we must get on with it.

“We can’t influence those kinds of moments in time when the thing to do is to criticise a player. We should perhaps be quite pleased that Wilf Zaha is doing so well that he’s creating so much attention and obviously people are concerned about him. Certainly Arsenal were very keen to get a lot of players around him every time he got the ball.

“If you know you’re not cheating in any way and you’re being fouled or unbalanced in an unfair way it’s all very well for me to stand here and say ‘you’ve got to put up with that’ but it’s very different when you’re on the field.”

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