ZAT Knight feels Wilfried Zaha “conned” the referee for Palace’s match-winning penalty, and knows this defeat ramps up the pressure on Owen Coyle.

Despite being adjudged by referee Geoff Eltringham to have fouled Zaha with 10 minutes left, Knight insists he would not change a thing about his challenge on the tricky Eagles winger.

“I think he was making the most of it,” he said. “He looked like he played for it. He is a really tricky customer and he has conned the referee – I believe so.

“I’m a defender and I’m going to make tackles. I would do exactly the same again. He has had his run at me and I don’t think I actually made a tackle – his knee hit the back of my calf.

“It is what it is, he got the penalty and we were punished from it.”

Glenn Murray converted from the spot to transform what had been a dour draw into a desperate defeat for the Whites, and one that again puts Coyle’s position as manager under serious scrutiny.

And the uncertainty, says Knight, does translate to the players, who he believes are not helping themselves by not converting the chances they are creating. “We feel we have a good manager and good players but at the minute we’re not ticking – we’re not putting the ball in the back of the net which is frustrating,” he said.

“It’s got nothing to do with the manager, we’re playing the players most of the fans would pick with the availability that we’ve got.

“We’re just not doing it, we’re creating them but we’re just not hitting the back of the net. It’s frustrating all around, especially sometimes at the back.”

With Leeds United at the Reebok tomorrow night fresh from a 3-2 win at Bristol City and a home victory over Everton in the League Cup, Knight knows the ramifications of defeat could be far reaching for his manager.

“If we don’t do well Tuesday and then Saturday it is a long two weeks going into the international break,” he said. “I know there is a lot of speculation about the manager but the boys have to be blessed with what we’ve got. The grass is not always greener on the other side.”

Confidence had been brimming after last weekend’s victory over Sheffield Wednesday, with talk in the camp of flowing goals and a change in fortune. But the latest defeat – the Whites’ first at home this term – would seem to have made a mockery of those claims.

“Our players go around saying someone is going to get a hiding soon but there’s no point being soon because sometimes soon is too late,” he said. “There’s no point waiting for next week or the week after, we have to make it happen now.

“It’s a tough loss today because we felt we should have got something, at least a point. If we don’t win, we don’t lose – that’s the trick to this league and to get out of it.”