Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips has hit out at Wilfred Zaha, accusing the Crystal Palace forward of ‘diving a lot’.
The two players met on Monday night in a match fraught with some very robust and old-school challenges at Selhurst Park, in which the spoils were shared after a goalless stalemate.
The result leaves Jesse Marsch’s men just five points above the relegation zone, with 18th-placed Everton boasting a game in hand on them.
In what proved a fiery showdown in south London, in which Zaha was consistently targeted by some ‘heavy’ challenges from the Leeds players, winning four fouls, there has been some backlash emanating from West Yorkshire.
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There was a coming together between Zaha and Raphinha in the first half as tempers threatened to boil over, and Phillips has now continued the bad blood following the contest, accusing Palace’s attacking fulcrum of ‘diving a lot’.
“He is a good player and we defended against him well as a team,” Phillips told BBC Radio 5 Live Sport.
“The ref complained at us for fouling him, but I think he dives a lot, to be honest with you.”
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Luke Ayling, tasked with man-marking Zaha, was perhaps a tad fortunate to avoid referee Darren England’s notebook after bringing down the Ivory Coast international on more than one occasion, and Palace manager Patrick Vieira lauded his player’s temperament for keeping his composure.
“I was happy Wilf kept his cool because it looked like they planned to stop him by fouling him, but I wasn’t worried,” said Vieira. “That will not be the first time teams try to frustrate him.
“I think he is used to it. But yes, I was angry. There were too many incidents.
“This is the way they play. But Wilf showed a lot of maturity and tried to concentrate on the game.”