Hodgson hails Zaha and praises Brighton's second half performance

Roy Hodgson. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)
Roy Hodgson. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)

Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson hailed Wilfried Zaha and was delighted to hold on for all three points after a strong second half performance by Brighton at Selhurst Park this afternoon.

The Eagles led 3-2 at half-time - and that was the way things stayed - after a brace from Wilfried Zaha and James Tomkins' strike, while Albion's goals came from Glenn Murray and Jose Izquierdo.

Palace had conceded a number of late goals of late, so Hodgson was pleased to hold on in the closing stages as Albion pressed forward.

He said: “It’s nice to go into the dressing room after the game knowing that it could have gone pear shaped for us if we’d conceded that equaliser, but we didn’t.

"There have been so many occasions that I’ve sat here and listened to people sympathising with our plight saying that we deserved better. On this occasion the late goal didn’t kill us and we got the three points that we so badly needed, and gave our fans a wonderful game of football to watch and hopefully go home happy."

Hodgson praised Brighton's performance in the second half and added: "I thought the team played ever so well and we were obviously disappointed that we didn’t have a better margin to build our second half upon because of the two goals they got back on us, but it’s good to know that the team can hold on.

“Brighton were very good in the second half; they took much more initiative and got more balls into the penalty area, crossed it much earlier and asked questions of our goalkeeper and the back four.

"That’s going to happen – with four games to go we’re trying to scramble ourselves over the line and I can guess there will be plenty of those matches."

Hodgson was also quick to hail Zaha's importance after the game as the Ivory Coast international again starred for the Eagles.

He said: “He’s very important, as he was last season when he stepped up to the plate and helped the team to survive.

"He’s doing his level best to help us now and we can’t ask any more of him, but his biggest question is that he has a lot of years ahead of him, so what is he going to do to get better?

"His dribbling ability and ability on the ball has been good for a long period of time, so what step can he take to get himself up there to be recognised the same as Alexis Sanchez or Eden Hazard?

“I believe that with his qualities there’s no reason he can’t take that step and be even better, but of course this season he’s going to be involved in a dogfight. You’ve probably only seen the best of him when the team are playing for their lives every Saturday.”

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