BY ROB SUTHERLAND
Roy Hodgson could not find fault in the performance of his Crystal Palace side in Saturday’s 2-0 defeat to Chelsea.
Having had a good run of results earlier in the season, the Eagles chief watched on as his team defended resolutely but capitulated to two second-half goals.
“I said to the players afterwards: ‘There is literally nothing I can fault you for.’ Sometimes you’re not as happy with the performance as you should be, but that wasn’t the case today,” he said.
Hodgson reflected on the start to the season, and the expectation that resulted, despite there being clear issues with depth in the team.
“We had a really good start to the season, which we were very happy with. And of course that then starts people making unrealistic expectations. We always knew these games were coming up.
“We don’t have the biggest squad in the world, we don’t have as many opportunities like some of the teams we just played against have, in terms of changing things around and putting other top-class players into the team. So what the team has done, up to now, I’m more than satisfied with,” said Hodgson.
Despite the results and his satisfaction with performances, Hodgson still feels his side can improve.
“We can get better. We need to get better. We have got, individually, a team that will blossom and play even better than they’re doing at the moment.
“Unfortunately it’s one of those periods in the Premier League where you look at every fixture coming up and you realise we have to be absolutely on top form today…because we’re not going to create 10-15 goal chances,” he said.
“We keep playing teams that are desperate to get into the Champions League by finishing in the top four and even to win the league. And we’ve got to go out there and give the type of performance that we’ve given these last few weeks. I feel that I’ve got some right to be quite proud of what the team did.
“It is really hard to say those things when you just got beaten, because people want you to either criticise your team or heap praise on the opponents, which is an easy thing to do. I’m just trying to be honest and say that.”
PICTURE BY KEITH GILLARD