BY ROB SUTHERLAND
Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson was disappointed with the result against Chelsea but not his side’s performance, following the 2-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
The Eagles lost to a Chelsea side in impressive form and, after a hectic midweek fixture against Ajax, there was a hope that might have impacted on their performance.
“One can always hope after a Champions League game that they might be a bit jaded and not playing to their full potential and their highest level – but that certainly wasn’t the case,” said Hodgson.
“We weathered the early storm and the shape of the team and the way the players worked hard to control an opponent that was in very good form — I have no criticism of them in any shape or form.”
Palace came into the game more after they went behind to Tammy Abraham’s goal, but couldn’t make that momentum count, conceding a second to Christian Pulisic.
“The second goal was a little bit unfortunate for us because we were starting to grow in the game,” said Hodgson. “We were starting to look a little more like ourselves.
“When that shot was blocked and it looped up in the air kindly for Pulisic to score the second goal, obviously after that it was going to become very difficult for us to get back in it.
“But we didn’t give up, we kept playing right to the end and this is an unfortunate spell we find ourselves in, playing against the top teams in the land.
“But, as I said when we lost to Man City and Leicester, I really can’t sit here and honestly say that I’m disappointed with our performance in any way.”
One player whose form has been subject of plenty of discussion is Wilfried Zaha, but Hodgson sought to defend the winger from criticism.
“Wilf [Zaha] is doing what he needs to do for the team – he’s working hard for the team. Against Arsenal he had an incredible game, maybe against Leicester and today he wasn’t his very best, but that’s what football is unfortunately.
“They’re human beings, you can’t legislate for people sometimes not having really good games that they and you would like.
But what you can legislate for is the work they’re going to put in and their adherence to the teams play and the team’s game plan. In that respect I thought Wilf was as good as anybody out there.”
PICTURES BY KEITH GILLARD