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Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson insisted he did nothing wrong by playing and captaining Luka Milivojevic despite images emerging of the Serbian violating Covid-19 protocols on New Year’s Eve.
crystal Palace secured a 2-0 win over Sheffield Utd thanks in large part to a superb solo goal from Eberechi Eze.
His goal will be a strong contender for the goal of the season award, but not all of the news was positive coming out of the game.
The first scorer, Jeffrey Schlupp, was one of two players, along with Christian Benteke, to be substituted due to injury.
Speaking at his post-match press conference (via Soccer London), Hodgson provided a troubling update on injuries at Schlupp.
“[Christian] Benteke is a dead leg. Schlupp is more concerning, a muscle injury, his hamstring.
“We will have a scan, but it looks like we will miss it for a while.”
FULL MATCH REPORT: Eze bets on goal of the season as Crystal Palace sinks, sorry Sheffield Utd
A violation of Covid-19 protocols recently emerged when Milivojevic was seen mingling with Fulham forward Aleksandar Mitrović on New Year’s Eve.
Responding to the mounting controversy, Hodgson said: “Well, I didn’t know anything, they told us that the story was going to break.
“It was at his home that Mitrovic met him. That is a clear violation of the rules. We condemn you, we apologize, and we hope you do. It is an internal matter.
“Neither he nor Mitrovic tested positive. We weren’t worried about violating Premier League protocols, so it was okay for him to play.
“I don’t accept that. I must say that I am quite surprised that there was an outcry from the Palace fans.
“But on the other hand, this is a violation of government guidelines that we didn’t want to happen, we are very unhappy with that.
But does that impact him on his game and on the captaincy? No. “
Eze learning from Zaha
Goal scorer Eze He also spoke to the BBC after the match, revealing that Wilfried Zaha is the man he’s trying to emulate in his game.
“I’m always practicing, always training and improving as much as I can,” said the former QPR winger. “I tried to take advantage of my opportunities when I got to that position.
“I believe in myself and support myself, but there is a lot of work to do to bring out the best in me.
“I do my best to help the team and also Wiflried Zaha, he is a great player and I am working hard to help the team.
“He is a great player and he has many qualities that I can put into my game.”
Regarding his sensational solo goal, he told Sky Sports: “I just saw quite a bit of space and thought I could take a chance too, luckily I did.
“To be fair, when I got to the shooting range, I thought I’d try my luck. I used the defender because the goalkeeper doesn’t have the best vision ”.