BY SAM SMITH
Roy Hodgson has refused to take positives from the fact that his Crystal Palace side denied Tottenham Hotspur the opportunity to add to their four first-half goals in their 4-0 defeat at White Hart Lane.
A Heung-min Son brace, a Patrick van Aanholt own goal and Erik Lamela had Spurs 4-0 up before the break. Mauricio Pochettino’s side failed to beat goalkeeper Vicente Guaita again in the second half.
Mamadou Sakho made his first competitive start since February and Hodgson admitted that was the only plus for the Eagles.
“They were 4-0 up, I won’t sit here and take any solace from the fact that they did not add to the 4-0 scoreline,” the 72-year-old said when asked if he was happy that his side had kept the score down in the second half.
“When you have scored four goals, you have done extremely well. When you have scored four goals without reply, you can invariably sit back and say: ‘This game is won’. I am glad that it didn’t become more than 4-0, that is bad enough for me. I didn’t want four.
“The only positive I can take from the game is that Mamadou Sakho, after such a long time out through injury, got through 90 minutes in a very, very tough game. If you are looking for me to give you some positives from a Crystal Palace point of view, I can’t come with anything other than that.”
All four of Tottenham’s goals were avoidable. Gary Cahill and Sakho were easily turned by Son for the first before Van Aanholt failed to intercept a pass and turned the resultant cross into his own net.
Andros Townsend then gave Serge Aurier too much time to cross for Son, who had lost Ward at the back post. Lamela then converted a sweeping move, during which no Palace player had got close to any Spurs player.
“We are obviously unhappy with our first-half performance, but we are all – manager, coaching staff and players – happy to take responsibility for that,” Hodgson insisted.
“It wasn’t a good start to the game and we didn’t show the intensity that I was hoping we would. I don’t want to take away too much from Tottenham during that spell because that was a spell when they played very well. The quality of their passing and movement was excellent, and of course they scored some good goals in that period of time.
“So, it wasn’t just a case of us not being anywhere near the standard that we set for ourselves and it certainly was a case of Tottenham coming out and playing extremely well and asking a lot of questions of our defence.”