Huddersfield: Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson praised the impact of winger Wilfried Zaha after he helped the London side to a vital 2-0 win at Huddersfield that took them out of the Premier League’s bottom three.
Zaha had been sidelined for nearly seven weeks with injury, with Palace losing all four games without him and he was a constant threat to the Huddersfield defence all the game.
“He is so good at carrying the ball and we noticed that in the second half for us. He is an outlet for us. He got past people and drew fouls and that put us in their part of the field and give our defenders a rest,” Hodgson told reporters.
“He got stronger as the game went on. In the first half there were a lot of other players who were important to us, but the longer the game went on it opened out, especially after the second goal, because Huddersfield needed to get back into the game.
“That’s where Wilf comes into his own because with his ability on the ball he can go past people,” said former England manager Hodgson.
Zaha limped off in the 89th minute but Hodgson said he did not think the winger had picked up a serious injury.
“I think it was partly fatigue but also he did take one or two knocks in the second half when he was bursting forward and their only way to stop him was to foul him,” he said.
With bottom pair Stoke City and West Bromwich Albion losing, it was a good day for Palace who moved up to 16th place after ending a seven-game winless streak.
“I don’t think I have ever had a feeling we are on a slide. We are getting players back to fitness and our squad is looking like what it was when we were getting results,” said Hodgson who added that the three points gained at the John Smith’s Stadium were vital even if he and his team were not focused on the league table.
“I think that we have tried to avoid discussing that, certainly as a team, because we know that with seven games to go there are going to be twists and turns,” he added.
“I think the most important thing for us was to come away from Huddersfield with a result, ideally a win but certainly not a defeat, to make certain that we could keep our hopes of staying in the division alive.
“Had we not done that today then the gap to teams like Huddersfield gets greater.
“We know how difficult it is, we had to make up eight points to get ourselves out of the relegation zone first time,” he said.
Updated Date: Mar 18, 2018 16:55 PM