Palace’s caretaker boss Keith Millen admits he was disappointed with the manner of his side’s defeat against West Ham United, but said he was pleased with the reaction of his players at half time.
The Eagles found themselves 2-0 down at half-time after two quickfire goals from Mauro Zarate and Stewart Downing, but came out fighting at the start of the second period as Marouane Chamakh struck to bring the hosts back into the game.
But Carlton Cole capitalised on some below-par Palace defending to seal the points for the Hammers against an Eagles team without Joe Ledley who tweaked his groin in the warm-up.
“That seems to be the way it’s going for us at the moment,” Millen said of the Welshman’s 11th hour injury. “Our first half performance was lacklustre. We weren’t at the races and that’s not like us, but maybe there are reasons – it’s been a tough week for everyone.
“Losing Joe Ledley in the warm-up obviously was another blow to us. I don’t like to use excuses as the man in charge, but you could say that the players have got reasons to be a little bit down.
“But again the response was good. We got into them at half time after conceding two goals within three or four minutes, which is tough and knocks the stuffing out of you.
“I said to them that the next goal would be vital and we got that with a great finish from Chamakh. At 2-1, it’s game on and all of a sudden we had a little bit more energy about us, the fans were behind us and unfortunately we shot ourselves in the foot with the third goal we conceded from a set-piece.”
Millen added that he hadn’t changed too much in training this week following last week’s defeat at Arsenal, but had tried to work on Palace’s effectiveness with the ball in attacking situations.
“We did a bit of work on when we do actually win the ball because we have got to be better when we turn the ball over,” he said. “I felt today that when we did break through the lines and get balls in the box, we actually created chances.
“But we seemed to be forever chasing the game and we know at this level from last year that at 2-1, certainly 3-1, it’s really game over.
“We’re disappointed with the manner of the first half performance. I was pleased with the way they responded, but then we killed ourselves with the third goal.
“West Ham were clinical with their chances, but I think we helped them along the way.”