Palace forward Zaha has been accused of diving in his last two trips to Watford
Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson is hoping no one will “provoke the crowd” to reignite last season’s diving accusations aimed at Wilfried Zaha.
Harry the Hornet – Watford’s mascot – dived on the pitch that brought attention to diving claims surrounding the Palace forward during the 1-1 Premier League draw at Vicarage Road on Boxing Day 2016.
Ivory Coast star Zaha later insisted there was an “agenda” against him after being booked for diving in a goalless draw at Watford in April this year.
Hodgson has insisted he would never let a Palace mascot do anything as incendiary as what happened at Watford in December 2016 – and also claimed that Zaha does not dive.
“If you’re asking me whether Harry the Hornet, who I presume is the mascot, should dive in that way, I think it’s disgraceful,” said Hodgson. “Because that’s not what football matches are about.
“And certainly if it’s provoking the crowd into looking for something that’s not there, it should be stopped.
“Wilf Zaha does not dive for penalties, he gets knocked over sometimes, sometimes he gets knocked over or unbalanced without it being a penalty or a foul, because he runs at such speed and has such agility with the ball.
“But he certainly doesn’t dive. But of course teams try to take every advantage they can.
“You mentioned the mascot, I would be very disappointed if the Crystal Palace mascot was doing something like that to provoke the crowd against an opponent. And if I found out about it, I would stop it.”
Aaron Wan-Bissaka will miss Sunday’s Watford trip after being sent off in Monday’s 2-0 Selhurst Park defeat to Liverpool.
Hodgson insisted he had no concerns with the highly-rated young full-back’s red card, but admitted the Eagles will miss the 20-year-old at Vicarage Road.
“As far as Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s sending off is concerned, I would have made the same decision as Michael Oliver in the same situation without a shadow of a doubt,” said Hodgson.
“In the heat of the game I thought he’d fouled him and as the last man you pay the price. But we were chasing the game at the time and I can’t blame him for it.
“I’m more than happy he had the willingness, pace and desire to get as close to Salah as he did. But we’ll miss him, he’s been good for us.
“We’re fortunate we don’t have too many injury problems at the moment. We’ve got Joel Ward and Martin Kelly, two players who can play right-back, so we have good alternatives.”