Hodgson defends Zaha and Schlupp substitute roles against Tottenham Hotspur

The Ghana and Ivory Coast internationals have recovered from their injuries prior to the match against Jose Mourinho’s men

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson said Wilfried Zaha and Jeffrey Schlupp are starting from the bench against Tottenham Hotspur because he was impressed by the team’s performance in their last two matches.

The Eagles have settled for back-to-back draws in their last Premier League games, against Fulham and Manchester United, and they will be focused on fighting for maximum points at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium after Gareth Bale’s opener for the hosts.

Despite his absence, Zaha remains Crystal Palace’s leading scorer with nine goals in 19 league matches this campaign while Schlupp has two goals and an assist to his name so far.

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Hodgson, ahead of the kick-off, described the return of the African duo as a boost for his team but he won’t be rushing them back to action.

“It should give them a lift. It certainly gives everyone around the club a lift,” Hodgson was quoted by the club website.

“No doubt Wilf has been fundamental in our creation of goals and goal chances, and Jeff as well has been. He needs a good spell now Jeff, because this season so far has been stop-start.

“Wilf is phenomenal in that respect [recovering from injury] so I think he can give us quite a lot of time if that’s something we want to do but I didn’t want to change the team from the last two performances which have been good.

“Of course, Wilf has been out a long time and hasn’t done a lot of training, so it’s a bit of a luxury to have him on the bench, but it’s something I had to do. Him and Jeff Schlupp to have on the bench, who have both been out, can definitely change things for us in terms of our attacking play.”

Ghana’s Jordan Ayew leads Crystal Palace’s frontline alongside Christian Benteke, and they are supported by Nigerian descent Eberechi Eze from the middle of the park.

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