April 13, 2018 / 6:03 AM / in 6 months

Crystal Palace speedster Zaha hits back at critics

(Reuters) - Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha has hit back at critics in the media and on the Internet who accuse him of going to ground too easily.

Soccer Football - Premier League - AFC Bournemouth vs Crystal Palace - Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth, Britain - April 7, 2018 Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha celebrates scoring their second goal Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs

The 25-year-old was slated in January when Palace drew 0-0 with Premier League leaders Manchester City, with many saying Zaha had dived to win a late penalty that Luka Milivojevic failed to convert.

"The whole penalty thing ... it used to get me really annoyed but everyone just jumps on the bandwagon," Zaha told Palace's website. www.cpfc.co.uk

Soccer Football - Premier League - AFC Bournemouth vs Crystal Palace - Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth, Britain - April 7, 2018 Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha celebrates scoring their second goal Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs

“I don’t really buy into it but I read stuff on Twitter and think half of you lot don’t even watch me play but you come online saying: ‘He’s a diver.’

“... At the pace I’m running, trying to get the ball, the slightest touch could trip me over. You don’t have to literally push me over. That’s what people don’t understand. But unless you’re able to run that fast, you’ll never understand.”

The Football Association cleared Zaha of diving against City, and also in incidents that saw two penalties awarded for fouls on him in a league game with Bournemouth in December.

Palace play Brighton and Hove Albion in the league on Saturday.

Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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