Roy Hodgson believes Etienne Capoue could have been sent off for his early foul on Wilfried Zaha, but refused to be drawn into suggesting there was any intent in the challenge.

The Hornets midfielder received a yellow card for the tackle on the Eagles’ side man from referee Anthony Taylor and the Crystal Palace boss felt it hampered the striker following the 2-1 defeat at Vicarage Road.

Hodgson said: “At the time I thought it was a bad challenge from the sideline. I had no idea quite the degree of severity and I had to wait until after the game to see it on the television.

“It definitely affected Wilf, there’s no doubt about that. I think we didn’t see anything like the best of him until late in the game and I suppose that one can understand that type of challenge affecting him.

“But having said that I thought the referee today had a very good game. I wouldn’t like to be quoted afterwards saying the referee missed something.

“It’s like everything else, with every football match these days when you analyse it with the benefit of television there’s always something you have missed everyone or the referee and linesman has missed and it’s been picked up in a different environment.

"He immediately jumped in and gave the yellow card because it was very early in the game. In fact, I was thinking at the time ‘that’s good, he’s not waited and given them a free hit’. As soon as he’s seen the foul he’s stepped in and sanctioned it. As it turns out now with hindsight and having seen with the benefits of TV he could have sanctioned even harder.”

But asked if he felt that had been any intent on Capoue’s part – and with the furore he had caused with his pre-match comments about Harry the Hornet and Zaha still very fresh in his mind – the Palace boss responded: “I don’t know if it’s pretty prudent to make those sort of comments. I don’t know what I’m going to gain by answering that so I think I’ll pass on it.”

Turning to the game, Hodgson said: “I thought the first half was good, I thought we were pretty much in the driving sort for the best part of it and created two really good chances. We created more than two but there were two excellent ones and of course Ben Foster showed what a top-class goalkeeper he is, in particular the save from Benteke’s header. That was a goal all the way.

“Had we come it 1-0 we could have said we deserved it, but we didn’t start well in the second half and we had a spell where our passing was as good as it can be and as a result they got a little bit more possession in and around the penalty area, scored a good goal and the thing that really did for us was the second goal.

“After that I was quite pleased with the team’s reaction because at 2-0 we could so easily have thought, especially with that type of goal, it’s not our day.”