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Benitez: FA should probe Zaha claim


PROTECTION PLEA: Zaha. Photo credit: Mike Egerton/PA Wire

PROTECTION PLEA: Zaha. Photo credit: Mike Egerton/PA Wire

PROTECTION PLEA: Zaha. Photo credit: Mike Egerton/PA Wire

Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez wants the Football Association to look into Wilfried Zaha's plea for greater protection from referees.

Benitez takes his winless side to Crystal Palace in the Premier League today with the Eagles' frontman's comments, in which he claimed he would have to have his leg broken before an opponent was sent off, having made headlines last weekend.

The Spaniard said: "I'm surprised because normally the FA deal with these comments, but I have a lot of confidence in Andre Marriner.

"He has experience - even if his record with our players is not the best in terms of red cards but I am quite confident." Benitez, however, insisted Newcastle would not change their plans for dealing with Ivory Coast winger Zaha as a result.

He added: "Not really. The FA has to deal with these comments and I'm sure that Marriner will not have this in the back of his head.

"Zaha will receive more tackles than other players because he likes to run at players.

"Players with pace and ability are normally exposed to these things. It's something we cannot change.

"A few weeks ago, we were playing against Chelsea and Manchester City and they don't have just one, they have 11. It's a normal situation for us.

"We know the player, our players know him and they will deal with him in the same way they would for another player."

Meanwhile, Benitez voiced his support for Stephen Darby following the 29-year-old Bolton defender's decision to retire from football after revealing he has motor neurone disease.

The Newcastle boss, who handed Darby his Liverpool debut, said: "As a professional and a lad, he is amazing.

"I would like to support him in any way. He's very positive, a fighter and his wife is exactly the same. They will go through in the best way possible."