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Roy Hodgson refuses to use Wilfried Zaha’s absence as an excuse

Zaha is expected to be out for a month with a knee injury.

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson will not use the absence of Wilfried Zaha as an excuse as his side battle against the threat of relegation.

The 3-1 defeat at Everton extended the Eagles’ record of not having won a match without the Ivory Coast international since September 2016.

Zaha is expected to be out for a month with a knee injury, during which time they will face Tottenham, Manchester United and Chelsea.

However, Hodgson is intent on avoiding accusations they are over-reliant on Zaha.

“We didn’t lose because we were lacking players because the XI was a good XI but we lost because we were punished for the defensive mistakes we made,” he said.

“It was not because we were totally outplayed and not because Zaha did not play.”

Hodgson was encouraged by January signing Alexander Sorloth’s 90-minute debut, having signed from FC Midtjylland for £9million on deadline day.

“I thought he did well on his debut as he hadn’t played for two months,” he said.

“He has only played two 45-minute halves in two friendlies so I was quite surprised he lasted the pace of the game.

“I was impressed with his determination and aggression.”

Midfielder James McArthur admits the players have to step up in the absence of the injured Zaha.

The Scotland international takes heart from Palace’s performance in the second half of last season when they beat Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea on their way to winning eight of their last 16 matches to safeguard survival.

“He is a big loss. He’s a big player for the club but it is about every one of us sticking together and stepping up to try to fill that void of Wilfried,” McArthur said.

“We are going to work hard and make sure that we do everything. Everyone will make sure we do a job and that will be good enough.

“Every game is tough in the league. You would have said that last year where we picked up a lot of amazing results against the big teams, so hopefully we go on a run this season and do the same thing.

“They will definitely be big points. We need to concentrate on the next game now, rectify what we did wrong and make it right.”

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