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First Team

Hodgson: A Deserved Draw From A Good Performance

2 December 2017

Roy Hodgson was pleased to pick up a second point on the road as the points were shared at The Hawthorns and even though he was not getting carried away by moving off the bottom of the table, he came away very happy.

The squad experienced a difficult journey on Friday afternoon but the manager was pleased that no excuses were used and with the level of football he saw the side play throughout the match.

Speaking in his post-match press conference, the Palace manager talked about a number of topics, including:

Moving Away From The Foot Of The Table: It’s a nice moment I suppose; I don’t want to be too clever about it. If someone said before the game you'd be off the bottom at the end I'd be very happy but I’m not exactly carried away by it. I thought today was a good point; it was a good performance considering the mishaps along the way getting here and with our staff. There’s a long way to go but if we can keep doing what we’ve done in the last three games then I think there's good auspices we will get ourselves out of trouble but we have got to just keep doing it.

We had to thrust four players into the team at the last moment, not least of all the goalkeeper who had about 25 minutes notices he was going to start the game when the goalkeeper we intended to play had a back spasm. And of course with the disastrous journey we had yesterday, those type of things, the players were provided with a lot of excuses today for not giving the right type of performance but they never took those. They did give the right performance and I thought we got a deserved draw.

Not The Ideal Preparation: It was a nightmare. We had a wonderful day, we had a nice training session, quite short but the sun was shining at Beckenham. We got to Euston Station and on the train at 3.23pm, at 3.30 it suddenly stopped dead because there had been problems with the wires overhead, they had been seared off so the train stopped to a dead halt. With very little information we spent three and a half hours in the dark, in the cold, with no toilet facilities, nothing at all really until they got a train alongside us to evacuate us to get us to Birmingham New Street. Instead of being there at quarter to five, we arrived at 9.30pm.

And then of course the hotel we intelligently booked was the venue for an Indian wedding so there was plenty of noise there at all until 2'o clock in the morning. So basically anything that could go wrong did go wrong and the players could quite easily have been excused for saying ‘this is not going to be our game’ but that wasn't the case. Especially in the first half we played some very good football and looked to take the game to West Brom.

The only problems we had were at the end of the game which unfortunately always happens when you are playing against a team that are strong, are physical, have got some very strong forward players and strong wingers who look for crosses at every opportunity and get the ball into your box, you know you'll have to do some defending in there. But that really probably was the only time I thought the game would escape us.

Penalty Shout For A Possible Foul By Ben Foster On Wilfried Zaha: I try not to be one of those managers who comes in all the time saying 'had it not been for this' but I did think we were a bit unlucky on that one. I've seen it again. It’s a difficult one for the referee to be fair.  I think he (Foster) actually caught Wilf Zaha’s leg and tripped him up.

I think he does really well actually, to be fair, having made the first mistake, he did brilliantly to scramble along there virtually nose to the earth to stop Wilf getting away. So I feel a bit aggrieved about that, probably more so because of the penalty that got given against us when Niasse had dived for Everton. If there is a god up there who takes care of those type of decisions going forward then he should be on our side.

Looking For That Elusive Away Goal: That will be a confidence factor. We are constantly aware that we need every point that is there to be had. People are reminding us about it all the time, reminding our forwards all the time that we haven't scored. When and if our situation in the table improves somewhat I think that will also hope help because it will take that enormous pressure off. But people underestimate the importance of pressure on football players, it's a physical game but it's also a mental game.

When things aren't going your way when people keep telling you you're not scoring enough goals or you missing chances that pressure builds up more and more, it can build and become a vicious circle. And there's only one way out of it; and that is to make certain one day you come and you score the goals. We could have done it at Brighton and perhaps could have done it here but we haven’t  so modestly we’ll be happy with the points and the clean sheets because we let in 17 goals in the first seven games we played and now we've let in eight in the next seven so that's a definite step forward.

Only Six Subs Originally Named: We came here with 18 players. But overnight Scott Dann, who was due to play, fell to recurrence of a virus problem that he's been suffering from which gives him pains in the chest and cuts his breathing so he didn't feel confident he could play. So we had to take him out of the game and there didn’t seem any point putting him on the bench.

Then of course the goalkeeper goes down in the warm-up, he has a back spasm which again hopefully could clear up by the next time we play but it wasn’t going to in the 20 minutes to  kick-off so we had to put the second goalkeeper in and we didn't have a third goalkeeper with us,. So our 18 man squad became 16 and we dealt with it that way, you can only use three of them anyway.

Watch eleven minutes of highlights plus post-match interviews for reaction from Julian Speroni and Roy Hodgson.

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