Roy Hodgson could not fault the desire from his players despite Saturday’s 2-1 defeat by Watford leaving Crystal Palace with just two home victories this season.
The Eagles chief said: “It’s tough to lose any game, especially at home and it’s made tougher that we’ve been doing quite well lately. “I was hoping that this would be the chance for us to get that elusive third [home] victory that would have lifted us to a much more comfortable place in the table.
“We were unable to get it, and when that happens there is no other emotion that I can display other than the obvious one of feeling very sad that we couldn’t do it.
“We started the second half very brightly, which was important after taking the lead late in the first, and we had our chances to increase the lead which would have made things very difficult for Watford but we didn’t and then the game evened out.
“They scored from a corner kick and then when the game is in the balance Tom Cleverley scored a wonder-volley and we missed a very good opportunity when [James] McArthur didn’t get a touch on the ball. Then at 2-1 with 15 minutes to play, the game becomes what it is.”
The Palace boss conceded that his side were perhaps a touch fortunate not to concede with a handful of Watford chances, including when Gerard Deulofeu and Roberto Pereyra struck efforts against the post early on. “Of the three goalkeepers, Ben [Foster] was the busiest and made the clearest and best saves, while we were fortunate to survive the early strikes that hit the post and I suppose we were lucky not to concede when [Aaron] Wan-Bissaka cleared the ball off the line, so they had their chances as well.
“If you want to win games, then you have to take the chances that come your way. Watford must be comfortable in that respect because they hit the post twice and had one cleared off the line and chances to score their two goals. We perhaps weren’t as effective and only scored one goal, but that’s what football is.
“There aren’t many games this year where I have thought we were outplayed or didn’t deserve to win, but there have been games like this where the game could so easily have gone either way and you get questions about regrets or frustrations. I don’t think I could have asked for a lot more from the players; we certainly didn’t lose the game because there wasn’t the desire to win it.”
Wayne Hennessey replaced Vicente Guaita in goal at the end of the first half when the Spaniard went down injured, and found himself floundering in no-man’s-land for the equalising goal. “We don’t know yet [how bad it is] but it’s an injury to his calf which will have to be assessed, but he couldn’t continue,” said Hodgson. “How bad it is we probably won’t know until he’s had a scan, but it was a definite muscle injury, it wasn’t cramp or a kick.”