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'Talisman' Zaha cannot save Palace on his own, says Hodgson

'Talisman' Zaha cannot save Palace on his own, says Hodgson

Soccer Football - Premier League - Crystal Palace vs Chelsea - Selhurst Park, London, Britain - October 14, 2017 Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha reacts REUTERS/David Klein
Soccer Football - Premier League - Crystal Palace vs Chelsea - Selhurst Park, London, Britain - October 14, 2017 Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha reacts REUTERS/David Klein

REUTERS - Wilfried Zaha may be Crystal Palace's 'talisman' but it would be unfair to pin the struggling club's hopes of staying in the Premier League solely on his shoulders, his manager Roy Hodgson said on Thursday.

The Ivory Coast international returned from a two-month spell on the sidelines to score the winner against defending champions Chelsea last weekend and give Palace their first points of the campaign.

The 24-year-old has scored eight goals and assisted nine since the start of last season, but Hodgson believes he has plenty of room for improvement.

"Wilf has been the talisman for Crystal Palace, but it's not down to one man, it's about the team," the manager told a news conference. "It's unfair to suggest that it's down to one man to get us out of the mess we are in.

"If you asked me if he's a great player with a very bright future, who can only get better, I'd answer with a resounding yes."

Palace are still bottom of the standings despite beating Chelsea and travel to ninth-placed Newcastle United on Saturday.

Rafa Benitez's newly promoted side have not lost at home since the first game of the season and Hodgson praised their organisation under their Spanish manager.

"They were organised and it is a fanatical atmosphere at Newcastle," he added. "They have started well and we have to be ready to give exactly the same performance as we did against Chelsea."

First-choice goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey is back in the Palace squad after recovering from the calf injury that kept him out of the Chelsea win, while strikers Connor Wickham (knee) and Christian Benteke (knee) are still unavailable.

(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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