Zaha plan comes off, says Knight

First published in Sport The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , chief football writer

TWO heads were better than one when dealing with Wilfried Zaha...

That’s the appraisal of Zat Knight, who hailed the work of the Wanderers wide men in dealing with Crystal Palace’s £12million-rated superstar at Selhurst Park.

Dougie Freedman had hinted prior to the game that he had hatched a plan to stop the winger, whose career he had helped to nurture from the age of 12.

And though the England international came into his own in the latter stages of the goalless draw, Knight reckons his side can be proud of the way they defended, after being undone by the Palace man in the previous encounter at the Reebok.

“When we came up against him in the first game we didn’t really know a lot about him, but he’s had a lot of press since,” said the defender. “He’s been fantastic and he deserves everything he gets.

“He was very good today but I thought we coped with him very well.

“It’s something we’ve been working on in training. When their winger gets the ball, we double up to make sure that if he does beat one, there is someone else behind to clean up.”

Wanderers waved goodbye to one of their most unwanted and longest-running statistics with their second clean sheet in five days.

The last time they had shut the opposition out entirely in a league match had been on the opening day of last season, at QPR. In the 32 intervening games there had been few performances of such defensive resolve but Knight hopes the team are now turning a corner in that respect.

“I thought it was a good team performance,” he said.

“We defended from the front and everyone stuck to their jobs.

“I’m over the moon about the clean sheet. If we can shut up shop then hopefully the strikers can do something at their end.

“We work on it every day, not just defence, but the whole structure of the team.

“When we haven’t got the ball we need to defend as an 11. Now we need to go from strength to strength at the back end of the season.”

Confidence had been boosted considerably since the midweek FA Cup victory at Sunderland, and Knight hopes the team can now take it into next weekend’s fourth round meeting with David Moyes’s Everton.

“We’ve had two good games, beat a Premier League team convincingly, and done well here at Palace,” he said.

“We have picked up a little bit of form now, so the Everton game is a good one to go into, maybe relax a bit and try to pick something up.”

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