Palace boss says Wilfried Zaha has proved his desire to knuckle down 'beyond doubt'
Roy Hodgson believes Wilfried Zaha has fully put the question to bed about his attitude after being denied a desired move away from Palace in the summer.
The winger helped get the Eagles back on track after they trailed 2-0 early on at Arsenal on Sunday – earning a penalty to get his team back into it.
And the Ivorian continued to cause the Gunners to fret as he led the line with his customary swagger. There is no doubt he played part in earning the 2-2 draw that keeps Palace firmly among the top six after a solid start to the season.
“I get the question asked every week and we're 10 games in – a quarter of the way through the season - so I think he's entitled now to think people are not going to consistently question his attitude, his desire and where his head is at,” said the Eagles' boss.
“I think he's been proving that almost every game we've played.
“I thought today he was in very good form. He asked an awful lot of questions of the Arsenal defence, who had to work very hard and get a lot of people around him to shackle him.”
Hodgson had good reason to feel happy about the influence of VAR as his side twice got the better of two key decisions. They wonn a penalty which ref Martin Atkinson deemed a dive by Zaha, but the ruling, and a yellow card, were overturned.
Just as crucially, a late winner for Socratis was ruled out for a penalty area infringement that looked weak to non existent.
The Palalce boss could afford to be sanguine.
“Referees make decisions on the spur of the moment and that was one of the situations where VAR really showed its true merits,” he said.
“This is one of the best referees in the world, let alone the Premier League and I'm pretty certain that in pre-VAR days, when his decision on the field might have stood, he'd have gone in at half time, looked at the videos and realised that 'woops I might have got that one wrong.
“Then of course he goes home and hears all the pundits analysing the game also say 'the referee got it wrong'
“Luckily, the decision got overturned and I'm pretty certain Martin is pretty comfortable with that because his spur of the moment decision turned out to be the wrong one and I'm sure he's man enough to accept that, be glad that it was overturned and that the right decision was made.”
About the fightback from two down, Hodgson said: “Today I thought the character and desire that we showed were really exceptional, because Arsenal started very fast, with their pressurising and a lot of players in forward positions.
“They scored two goals from corner kicks within 10 minutes and that is the stuff from which disasters are made of, because you don't get back from that and if you're not careful, the score gets aggravated. But I thought the way we got ourselves back into the game – starting to pass the ball better, even the game out somewhat, score a good goal – gave us the chance to settle down and try and mount the challenge that we did in the second half.
“I'm really delighted with the players, delighted with the performance.”