Crystal Palace must start winning games without ‘influential’ Zaha – Hodgson |

The Eagles boss has expressed his displeasure with his side’s recent unimpressive results and wants them to improve

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson has urged his side to start winning games without “influential” forward Wilfried Zaha.

The Ivory Coast international has been playing a key role in ensuring the Eagles maintain their Premier League status.

Palace have struggled to win games without the winger, having now lost 18 of their last 20 English top-flight matches when he did not play, failing to score in 16 of those 18 games they lost.

Zaha is currently on the sidelines due to a hamstring injury and the Eagles have not won since the forward last featured for them against Newcastle United, losing against Leeds United and Burnley.

Ahead of their Premier League game against Brighton and Hove Albion on Monday, Hodgson has showered encomium on the 28-year-old for his impact for the club but has encouraged his team to brace for the challenge without the winger.

“It will be too soon, it was quite a nasty muscle injury he got, so once again we will have to go into the game with the sword of Damocles hanging over us in the fact that if we do not win it, it will be because Wilf is not there,” Hodgson told Sky Sports.

“He has been so unbelievably influential during my time at the club, he has done a fantastic job for us, he has contributed and helped us every year to get us to where we’ve been, i.e. outside the relegation zone and looking forward to another Premiership year.

“But the fact is we must find a way of making certain it is not a case of if he does not play, we cannot win because the fact is these other players have a lot of talent and skill too and we cannot deny the fact or criticise anyone for making the fact known, or asking me the question what about it. I do not complain about that.

“But certainly the players, I know will be a little bit disappointed to feel it is as simple as Wilf plays we win, Wilf does not play, we don’t, because they know that injuries happen and you have to learn to deal with it.

“But we are not alone, when clubs miss their best player. When Harry Kane has not played for Tottenham, there has been more difficulty for them to get results.

“But it is a fact we have to try and deal with and if we want to get that monkey off our back, then we had better start winning games when Wilf is not there.”

Zaha has scored nine goals and provided two assists in 19 Premier League games this season, amid other dazzling displays.



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