Former Manchester City boss Stuart Pearce believes Wilfried Zaha is targeted by Premier League managers to nullify Crystal Palace's threat.
The 25-year-old has called for more protection from referees after Mathias Jorgensen escaped with a caution for a foul on him in their 1-0 win over Huddersfield Town on Saturday.
Palace have not won a game without the forward since 2016 and Pearce believed the stats make the winger a target fpr English top-flight coaches.
"From a coach and manager's point of view, leading into a game you say the stats prove this guy is so crucial to Crystal Palace, so stop the ball going to him, stop him getting into his stride and stop him getting into your penalty area,” Pearce told Sky Sports.
“However you do that, you'll nullify a lot of what Crystal Palace are trying to achieve. I can understand why Zaha has come out with the statement he has, especially after the Watford game. I thought Watford were trying to do a bit of a number on him."
This season, Zaha has registered three goals in four games and will hope to continue with the form in their next league game against Newcastle United September 22.