BY SAM SMITH
Roy Hodgson has refused to blame Christian Benteke after the striker missed an excellent opportunity to seal victory against Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The striker raced through on goal and hesitated before shooting straight at goalkeeper Rui Patricio.
Wolves soon raced up the other end and scored an equaliser five minutes into added-time. The Eagles had led through Leander Dendoncker’s own goal a minute into the second half.
The Belgian had scored just four times in the last two seasons. He is yet to net this campaign.
Asked how the Belgian will be picked up following his miss, Hodgson said: “We give him all the encouragement we possibly can and keep trying to get him into those areas.
“We give him opportunities to practice what he needs to practice as a centre forward and we try hard not to lay blame on him, more than the blame from people who watch the game.
“There’s not so much more we can do, but we won’t be talking negatively about him.”
It was not just Benteke who should have scored. Jeffrey Schlupp was also denied by Patricio in stoppage-time, and Palace had enough chances earlier to win the game.
Hodgson felt his side would have been well worth the three points had they held on.
“[It’s] unbelievably disappointing,” admitted the 72-year-old.
“We did more than enough to win it. We had a good second-half performance. Perhaps we should have taken some of those chances, and then maybe we wouldn’t have been concerned. And we weren’t able to prevent them from not getting a sniff.
“They [Wolves] will go away very happy at getting a point like that. It is a great feeling and a feeling of victory for them, whereas we felt it was three points and when it becomes one, it feels like for a defeat.”
PICTURES BY KEITH GILLARD