Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha has been the target of persistent fouling this season and needs more protection from referees, manager Sam Allardyce has said ahead of Sunday’s crucial Premier League game against Hull City.
“We’re supposed to be improving the game for our more skilful players… but persistent fouling seems to be something you can get away with,” Allardyce told British media.
“You can tug somebody and get booked straight away, but you persistently foul somebody and the referee continues to let that go. For me, Wilfried needs more protection, so he can show his abilities more.
“It’s up to the referee to make that decision but I constantly see – and I share – Wilf’s frustration. But I would like Wilf to control himself more and not lose control of his game, and keep going at them and keep trying to do the right thing.”
Allardyce said that Palace Chairman Steve Parish had warned him about Zaha’s treatment before he replaced Alan Pardew in January but there has been no improvement.
“I was told by the chairman it was happening before I got here and obviously you take it or leave it in terms of, ‘I’ll find out for myself’,” Allardyce added.
“But I’ve found it to be the same, and because he’s such an outstandingly damaging player for the opposition he gets fouled more.
“He actually gets fouled more than the rest of the team put together most of the time.”
Palace are 16th in the league and four points clear of the relegation zone with two games left. They can ensure safety with a win over Hull, who occupy the third relegation berth.