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Media Watch: Parish Defends 'Extraordinary Talent' Zaha.

2 January 2018

Chairman Steve Parish has shared his views on Wilfried Zaha in today’s edition of the Daily Mail following claims from some pundits that the winger dived against Manchester City to win a late penalty in the 0-0 draw on Sunday. Wilfried Zaha is fourth most fouled player in the Premier League this season – being felled 43 times. The below copy is re-published verbatim.

There’s an agenda against Wilfried Zaha. I don’t know why or where it comes from, but it is outrageous to accuse him of being a diver. It’s total nonsense.

I’m not sure some of the pundits pointing the finger at Wilf even know the rules. What are they watching? The penalty we were awarded against Manchester City on Sunday was nailed on. Wilf can’t carry on running. He can’t stay up. He’s in front of Sterling who pulls his arm and falls on him. Look at the picture. How is that not a penalty?

It’s nonsense to claim he dived. If he could have stayed on his feet, he would have done.

Trust me; Wilf is a genuine kid, a genuine player who just loves to play. He is an extraordinary talent — irreplaceable for us and I can’t even begin to put a value on him — and one I hope fans of all clubs enjoy watching. The reason he has won three penalties for us this season is because he’s such a good player.

He’s quick, talented and difficult to stop. But some pundits are determined to cause Wilf problems — maybe Palace, too — and they are costing us penalties.

No one can say Wilf is a cheat. The reality is he’s fouled all the time but he doesn’t get 50 per cent of the decisions. It beggars belief that I even have to defend him against these claims. If the incident against City had occurred in the middle of the pitch we would have been awarded a free-kick, so there shouldn’t even be a debate about whether it was a penalty.

Maybe Wilf doesn’t help himself sometimes because he often complains to the officials about his treatment. But you can understand his frustration. He should have had 10 penalties this season. He was kicked off the park against Manchester United last season, I know because I saw his bleeding legs in the dressing room after the game.

He is fouled all the time and players get away with it. I’m not calling for him to be protected; I just want him to receive the same treatment as every other player.

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