Zaha affected by back injury – Hodgson

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson felt a muted performance from star winger Wilfried Zaha was due to a back injury.

Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha   -  Getty Images

Wilfried Zaha has a back injury and that contributed to an unusually quiet performance against Newcastle United, says Roy Hodgson.

Zaha could be seen feeling his back in the pre-match warm-up, but was still named in the Palace XI for Saturday's Premier League match.

However having been Palace's match-winner with a special strike at Huddersfield Town last time out, Zaha was muted in a 0-0 draw at Selhurst Park.

The forward suggested this week he would have to sustain a broken leg in a tackle for an opponent to be sent off, with Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez criticising his comments.

Hodgson confirmed Zaha was fit to play, but suggested the injury had a negative impact on his performance.

"I think he is feeling something at the top of his back. He was passed fit by the doctor and physio and had no desire not to play the game. I am hoping it won't cause him problems in the week. Nothing really to report," said the former England manager.

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"He was quieter. I don't know if his comments affected him. He isn't in front of the mass media, but I don't think he expected his comments to be treated the way they were. It was his lament. I don't think he expected the world and its sister to have a view."

"We expect something from him every time he gets the ball, but maybe he was a bit quieter than normal. Maybe that [injury] affected him too. When he wants to play the game and is declared fit, I want him to play, because he is such a match-winner."

Newcastle's under-fire owner Mike Ashley was present at the game, but Benitez demurred when asked if he had spoken to the controversial businessman.

"Not really, I was talking with the media at the time," said the Spaniard.

"If the owner wants to support the team, that's okay. If the owner can be on the pitch and score a couple of goals it would be better!  We are missing this kind of situation when we have a couple of chances, we have to do a little better. If you score, then the game changes totally."

Palace's young right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka appeared to be struck by a bottle thrown from the Newcastle section of the Selhurst Park crowd.

"We had 3,000 fans and they were fantastic, maybe one made a mistake," added Benitez.