BY MATT WOOSNAM
Roy Hodgson believes his Crystal Palace side should be looking up the table rather than concerning themselves with the trials and tribulations of those teams below them in the Premier League, after a 1-1 draw at home to West Ham.
The opening 45 minutes were largely dominated by the visitors who deservedly took the lead from the penalty spot after Vicente Guaita’s foul on Michail Antonio, but Palace were rewarded for an equally dominant second-half performance when Wilfried Zaha’s shot looped off Issa Diop and over Lukasz Fabianski to equalise.
The Eagles could have won it but spurned several opportunities, with Fabianski saving well to keep the Hammers in the game.
“My perception is that I think I’ve got a very good football team, they’ve showed it time and time again this season,” said Hodgson.
“They showed it with bells on today against a team that should have beaten Liverpool on Monday night. Certainly we should have beaten them. So, I think personally that I’m entitled to believe in this team and to have faith in this team and to believe that this team should be less concerned about the teams below them than the teams above them.
“I did think that our performance throughout the game, but in particular in the second half, was really good. I think it would have been a bit of a travesty if we’d got nothing from the game.
“Given the chances that we’d created and the opportunities, 17 I think, given the number of times Fabianski had to made good saves or defenders had to make good blocks, I think the one goal we got was a pretty poor reward for our efforts.”
“There is an element I suppose of disappointment, where the performance that definitely merited three points only got one. But it’s tempered I suppose by the fact that for a long period of time we were a goal down.”
The Selhurst Park crowd were frequently frustrated by perceived injustices from decisions made by referee Craig Pawson, and made their feelings abundantly clear, with Hodgson agreeing that his side were hard done by with some calls.
“I didn’t think we were lucky with a lot of decisions because I’d actually said on a few occasions to the linesman or fourth official who were close to me, I gave my opinion on certain decisions. I didn’t want to do that behind the ref’s back, so I just made it clear to him that, look, I’d been moaning a little bit about some of the things that have gone on today but I want you to hear that from me, face to face and not when you go into your room and hear from your fourth official or linesman that I’d been moaning about decisions.
“The guy’s a very good referee and I think Premier League refereeing standards are enormously high. But sometimes there are decisions made and quite often, there are varying opinions on those between the two benches and that will always be the case. In my opinion, we were quite hard done by.”
Michy Batshuayi was introduced for the ineffective Christian Benteke in the second half and the Palace boss was pleased with the substitute’s display, despite a glaring miss when well-placed.
“He needs to keep doing what he’s doing, I thought his performance was good. He was looking to get shots away and, in his brief period of time on the field, he probably had five or six shots. He was certainly working hard to get behind the defence which is what we want from him, we want him getting into those positions. We want him to be confident enough to take on those shots.
“I thought the introduction of Michy and later Max [Meyer] were good additions because they were obviously replacing, in the case of James McArthur, someone who’s worked so very hard for 75-odd minutes that it was nice to get the fresh legs and to put on someone who not only had the fresh legs but also had a lot of skill when he was on.”