EPL

Roy Hodgson satisfied with what injury-hit Crystal Palace have achieved

By Sports Desk December 21, 2023

Roy Hodgson revealed he feels “more than satisfied” with what his injury-plagued Crystal Palace side have achieved despite conceding a late equaliser in their 1-1 draw with Brighton.

Substitute Danny Welbeck nodded past home debutant Dean Henderson in the 82nd minute to cancel out Jordan Ayew’s opener and ensure the rivals’ fifth consecutive Premier League meeting at Selhurst Park ended in exactly the same scoreline.

Palace, in 15th and nine points clear of the bottom three, are now winless in seven and now the unfortunate holders of the longest winless streak in the top flight after surpassing Nottingham Forest’s six, and next travel to Stamford Bridge after Christmas.

When asked if he was feeling any extra pressure due to the Eagles’ recent run of results and subsequent slide down the table, Hodgson said: “Well, I suppose that’s football.

“If I suggest that every time a team slides down the table the manager should feel under pressure, then I suppose I should feel under pressure, but I don’t believe that the players can be doing much more than they are doing at the moment, so if that is pressure, I don’t feel it. No, not at all.

“Don’t forget the next game is Chelsea. I mean, the bottom line is we have to accept that we know what we’re capable of. We also know that even if we bring the absolute maximum of what we’re capable of, if you play a Liverpool, Man City and Brighton it’s going to be a tough ask.

“If after those three performances you can sit here as I am doing tonight and be more than satisfied with what the team has achieved, maybe that counts more than just saying ‘well, you need the three points’ because who doesn’t need the three points? That’s the bottom line.”

It was a mistake by Brighton goalkeeper Bart Verbruggen, giving the ball away to Michael Olise, that ultimately allowed the hosts to work the ball to Ayew for the opener on the stroke of half-time.

Palace were without the Ghana international for Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Manchester City after picking up a pair of bookings against Liverpool and sitting on four yellows, and was swapped in the second half for Eberechi Eze, returning from injury but, Hodgson admitted, “not really as ready as we would like.”

Roberto de Zerbi also played Welbeck longer than he expected, breaking with the original plan for him to play closer to 23 minutes rather than a full half.

He said: “I can say we lost two points. Yes, if you watched the game we lost two points but to win the game we can’t make these mistakes. In the first half we played well, but without the right energy to score and we shouldn’t have conceded the goal.

“Because we considered it another bad goal, and we didn’t score, we didn’t have too many chances, just two big chances, but we are playing with many young players and the young players need time to improve, to progress.

“The policy of Brighton is to play with many young players and we have to accept and we have to be happy, to be ready to play, to work with these young players.”

Brighton winger Kaoru Mitoma left Selhurst Park on crutches after injuring his ankle.

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