Roy Hodgson grows grey hair over Crystal Palace’s Zaha-dependence

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Wilfried Zaha
All through last term the Eagles were unable to win a game without their talismanic forward, and Saturday’s result shows the issue persists

With a Wilfried Zaha-less Crystal Palace yet to get a positive result in the English Premier League since 2016-17, manager Roy Hodgson has said, quite frankly, that he does not ‘know what I can do about it’.

Last season, much of Palace’s problem occurred when the Cote d’Ivoire international was out of the squad, with the Eagles failing to pick a point in his absence.

And, on Saturday, it continued.

The former Manchester United man was forced to sit out Southampton game after a late assessment and Hodgson’s side fell to a 2-0 defeat at Selhurst Park - meaning they have lost all 10 games he has not played in since the start of last term.

And the English gaffer said he is yet to find a way to get his side winning without their record goalscorer.

“I don’t quite know what I can do about it until such time as we play a game without Wilf and win,” Hodgson said after the game.

“It’s a fact. Again he didn’t play and again we didn’t win. It’s a pure fact that we have to learn to live with.

“He was injured in the very last minutes of the training session. The injury was sufficient to keep him out of the game. He had done something to his left [groin].

“There will be games where Wilf doesn’t play and I would like to think that the squad that we have is good enough to win without him.

“It’s a stretch to say because Wilf is unable to play, the other players can’t produce what they are capable of.

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“Our performance after the penalty was lively and we did ask a lot of questions of their defence and goalkeeper [Alex McCarthy] and they answered those questions very well. In the end we suffered the indignity of a 95th-minute goal.

“[But] I don’t think we played anywhere near good enough in the first 60–65 minutes to merit victory.”