Roy Hodgson: Crystal Palace can score without Wilfried Zaha
Roy Hodgson dismissed suggestions Crystal Palace are too reliant on Wilfried Zaha as the talismanic forward was forced to miss the 1-0 defeat at Burnley after testing positive for coronavirus.
Burnley claimed their first Premier League victory of the season to move out of the relegation zone thanks to Chris Wood’s eighth-minute strike, which was the Clarets’ first top-flight goal at Turf Moor this campaign.
Palace had a number of opportunities to level but found Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope in irresistible form as he saved brilliantly from Michy Batshuayi and substitute Christian Benteke in the second half.
Five of Palace’s league goals this season have come from Zaha, whose absence meant the visitors seemed to lack a cutting edge, but Hodgson was insistent that they are not dependent on their Ivory Coast international.
“We’ve scored 12 which is more than we’ve had in previous years after nine games,” Hodgson said.
“I’ve had two years of listening to people tell us we don’t score enough goals and we don’t have enough goal-scorers. There are goals in the team, we do have players who can score and who will score.
“There are 29 games to go and the goals will come and will come from lots of different sources, I’m convinced of that.
“We were very much on the front foot (in the second half) and taking the game to Burnley.
“There were a lot of situations around their penalty area but unfortunately the last part when we shot wasn’t there and when it was we found the goalkeeper in excellent form.”
Asked when Zaha tested positive for coronavirus, Hodgson added: “We’ve known about it for a few days. We didn’t want to broadcast it to the world because we were rather hoping that the second test might free him to play.
“He’s had to self-isolate so now I have to wait for that test to free him because luckily he’s not feeling particularly unwell.”
Burnley had failed to find the back of the net in their previous four matches while they came into this fixture as the division’s lowest scorers with only three goals in seven outings.
Manager Sean Dyche believes they had been on the right track after a goalless draw at Brighton before the international break but feels this was more of a complete display.
“We defended fantastically well down at Brighton but we had a better balance to our performance here,” he said.
“We were effective in the top third and defended well, culminating in a fantastic save by Popey (from Benteke) to make sure we got the clean sheet and the win.
“It’s a starting point, it’s nice to get that story to calm down a bit when you get that win, it takes your points tally up and you get out of the bottom three for this period but we know there’s lots of work to be done.
“We are getting players fit again, we do look a more rounded squad at the moment, provided everyone stays fit, so that gives you a better platform to build from.
“You put all that together with a win and a clean sheet and the feelgood factor certainly comes back into the group very quickly.”