Wilfried Zaha, Roy Hodgson can save Crystal Palace from drop - Coppell
Former Crystal Palace manager Steve Coppell believes the quality of Wilfried Zaha and the organisation of Roy Hodgson will be vital as the Eagles attempt to escape from the relegation zone after a tumultuous start to the 2017-18 Premier League campaign.
Coppell was in charge when Palace came third in the English top flight in the 1990-91 in their best-ever season. But, just 10 games into the current campaign, the London club are facing up to a relegation battle under ex-England boss Hodgson.
Palace started the campaign with seven straight defeats, failing to score a single goal in that run. This form led to the sacking of Frank de Boer after just four league games, with the club turning to former Liverpool and Fulham manager Hodgson.
Palace still sit bottom of the table, three points behind 19th-placed Bournemouth. But things started to look up after a stunning 2-1 win at home to Chelsea two weeks ago.
There was a setback in a 1-0 defeat at Newcastle United last weekend, but they came from 2-0 down to secure a point at home to West Ham United on Saturday, Zaha netting the equaliser deep into added time.
"It's a big hole they've created for whatever reason," Coppell told ESPN FC on a visit to Thailand. "I'm not going to criticise any decisions that were made last summer, but it was sad to see big Sam [Allardyce] go because he looked as if he could have established something. Changes were made... they just didn't work."
Coppell, who is preparing for the new season as manager of Jamshedpur FC in the Indian Super League, believes that Hodgson and Zaha can help lift Palace out of their current predicament.
"Now, Roy has come in, and he is very, very solid. He knows his football," Coppell said. "A critical component of Crystal Palace doing well is Wilfried Zaha as he has proven since he came back into the team. The team won at Chelsea and picked up a point on Saturday because of his goal.
"He has got to remain fit and with the organisation that Roy will bring, the team will have a chance.
"But they're in a big hole and they're looking up [at the rest of the table] and they'll be looking up for some time, but they do have a chance."
Bangkok-based Paul Murphy has lived in Asia for a decade, writing for ESPN FC since 2014. He is a former Daily Express sub-editor. @PaulMurphyBKK