After seeing Wilfried Zaha handed a red card in Palace’s 1-1 draw with Southampton, Roy Hodgson admitted Andre Marriner had no choice but to send him off, but also that it was difficult for his player to keep his emotions in check.
Zaha had opened the scoring before James Ward-Prowse equalised for the hosts, but the major talking point came late in the game when the two tangled when the Eagles man reacted to a poor, unpunished challenge on him, sparking off a chain of events that saw the winger red carded and suspended for Saturday’s game with Fulham.
Hodgson is disappointed that one of his key players will be missing, and speaking in his post-match press conference, the Eagles boss discussed a number of issues, including:
Zaha’s dismissal: “I think it’s disappointing that the player who provided some of the best entertainment in the 90 minutes and was consistently fouled throughout couldn’t contain his frustration with that, and his protests over a foul that wasn’t given but probably should have been. But then once he applauds the referee’s decisions to give him the yellow card, under the laws of the game he’s got no option but to send him off, so there’s not much more I can stay about it.”
Zaha targeted by teams?: “Players who run with the ball as he does do get fouled, and he was fouled a lot of times in the game. I didn’t get the impression that he was being deliberately targeted any more so than any of our other players, in actual fact Jordan Ayew got fouled a couple of times.
“As someone who has been in football a long time and seen a lot of matches, it’s disappointing that the people we most want to watch are the ones being taken out of games either by fouls or injury, or in this occasion because they haven’t shown the saint-like behaviour that is required not to react to fouls.”
Suspended for Fulham game: “As a manager of such an important player, it’s not good for me knowing he’s suspended for the next game. We need him playing, not being sent off and he’ll be very contrived about the reaction to the yellow card.
The game: “We were fairly in the control and our first half performance was very good, and I think we should really have taken one or two of the chances that came our way to make it 2-0, and we had a goal disallowed that was quite harsh.
“We needed that second goal to calm everyone down, and when that didn’t come and then they equalised, the last 10 minutes became very difficult, especially with 10 men and suffering as one of our important creative players had been sent off and won’t be able to play on Saturday.
“We saw the game out and Dann came on for the injured Tomkins and won a few headers and made some clearances which was good for us, and on another day we might think that 1-1 here is not a bad result, but the way the game panned out and what has now happened means I sit here feeling like it was a major defeat.
Injuries: “Kouyaté jarred his ankle and played on bravely for 20 minutes and then Tomkins was feeling his hamstring. I couldn’t tell you how bad they are today, we’ll have to wait until they’re assessed in a more clinical way.”