Crystal Palace beat Brighton without Zaha but Hodgson wants forward back

Wilfried Zaha - Crystal Palace
Getty Images
The Eagles boss is delighted with his side’s victory over the Seagulls without some of his key players and looks forward to their return

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson has revealed his desire to see his injured star forward Wilfried Zaha return to his side soon.

The Eagles secured a 2-1 victory over Brighton and Hove Albion in Monday’s Premier League game without the Ivory Coast international, who has been injured since February 2.

After Joel Veltman cancelled out Jean-Philippe Mateta’s strike, Christian Benteke then scored the winning goal at the death to ensure the Eagles secured all three points in the encounter.

Zaha suffered a hamstring injury against Newcastle United and did not feature when Palace suffered two consecutive defeats against Leeds United and Burnley.

The 22-year-old winger has been playing a key role in ensuring the Eagles maintain their Premier League status.  

Palace have struggled to win games without the forward, losing 18 of their last 21 English top-flight matches when he did not play.

Hodgson has praised his side for winning without Zaha but revealed his desire to see the forward, Ghana international Jeff Schlupp and other players return from their injury problems.

“That was mentioned in the dressing room [about winning without Zaha], but I must also add – as I have on a few occasions – that it would still be very, very nice to get him back,” Hodgson said, as per London News.

“People should remember we are playing without five regular first-team players. We’ve got two centre-backs [out] in Tomkins and Sakho, midfield players in Jeff Schlupp and James McArthur – and Wilf Zaha.

“I would defy any team, if you take players of that quality out, to continue playing perhaps at the level they have played to up to that point.”

Article continues below

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

The forward will be expected to return from his hamstring injury problems when Crystal Palace take on Fulham on February 28.

The Eagles are 13th on the Premier League table after gathering 32 points from 25 games.