Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson has moved to defend "pantomime villain" Christian Benteke following the striker's last minute penalty miss during his side's 2-2 draw with Bournemouth on Saturday.
The Belgian defied Hodgson's orders and took the ball from designated spot-kick taker Luka Milivojevic (who had already netted from 12 yards earlier on in the match), and the former Aston Villa and Liverpool attacker saw his poor effort saved by Asmir Begovic - denying the Eagles of a much needed win at the death.
And now, ahead of Palace's tough fixture against high-flying Watford on Tuesday night, Hodgson has run to the defence of the 27-year-old:
"He persuaded Luka to take it. He wanted it, he was convinced he would score it, he felt good about his game. No-one was more devastated he didn't score", the Palace manager said in his pre-match press conference, via Evening Standard.
"These things do happen in a football match. We have been, not lucky, but received rewards in the closing minutes of matches.”
While the 70-year-old was visibly disappointed with Benteke at the end of the game on Saturday evening, Hodgson made special note to praise his striker's performance against the Cherries, claiming that he doesn't deserve the 'pantomime villain' label that has been handed to him in the wake of the incident:
"Let me make one more point about Benteke: he played very well on Saturday,”
"That was a really good performance, so let’s not forget that. At the moment Benteke, as far as everyone’s concerned, is some sort of pantomime villain.
"But that’s also a bit unfair if you look at his performance, because it was really very good."