Troy Deeney has admitted Watford did target Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha in their Premier League game last month. Deeney has revealed that a plan based around fouling Zaha was devised to stop the Eagles star during the 2-1 victory at Vicarage Road on August 26.
The striker’s comments come in the wake of a plea from Zaha to be given more protection by referees due to his belief that he is deliberately targeted by opponents.
“You take it in turns kicking him,” Deeney told BBC Radio Five Live.
Related: Salako Preaches Zaha Caution
“I know no one wants to hear that, but you go: ‘You hit this time, you hit him the next time’. You don’t have the same player tackle him because you know you’re going to get booked.”
Deeney insists Zaha’s protest against the physical treatment he receives, combined with his reputation for diving, can be used to manipulate referees.
“It’s difficult, but also as a captain I’d be the first if we were playing him this week and he’d just said those comments I’d have been like: ‘Ref, don’t you be the first one to give him a pen. Don’t you start going easy on him’,” he said.
“You can then flip it and start being more psychological with the referees.”