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First Team

Hodgson Satisfied With Swansea Point

23 December 2017

Despite seeing his team let the lead slip at Swansea City, Eagles boss Roy Hodgson was satisfied that his side managed to take something from the game and continue their unbeaten run.

That was stretched to eight games, and looked to be Palace’s third straight win when Luka Milivojevic netted a penalty just before the hour mark, but Jordan Ayew’s thunderbolt meant honours were even at the Liberty Stadium, which Hodgson believes was a fair enough result.

Speaking in his post-match press conference, he discussed a number of issues, including:

Views on the game: “They had more possession that’s for sure, because that’s the way that Swansea play – they keep the ball extremely well and move it across the field well, but I felt that we controlled that pretty well throughout the game. We didn’t really concede that many goal chances and at the other end of the field we looked pretty dangerous.

“When we took the lead I was hoping that we would continue defensively as well as we had been doing, not concede and go away with the victory but Swansea scored an excellent goal with a wonderful strike from Ayew, and the last 10 or 15 minutes became end-to-end.”

Good point?: “From our point of view, we have been down there at the bottom for the large part of the season, but we’re picking up points – sometimes it’s only one but it’s sometimes three, so we have to be satisfied with one. We’ve had two difficult away fixtures on paper against Leicester and Swansea and taken four points, and I’m more than satisfied with that.”

Unbeaten run: “We’re just trying to chip away at that first seven games when we had zero points. It was an enormous handicap to give yourself so it would take something enormous to get ourselves back on an even keel. I think that’s what we’ve done thanks to some very good performances from the players in the last two or three months, especially in the last eight games where we’ve been unbeaten. 

“We’ve brought ourselves back into a pack of teams who have to look over their shoulder at the spectre of relegation which isn’t leaving them. I expected it to take a lot longer to get in contention with them, but we’ve achieved that before the schedule that I expected. We know that there’s an awful long way to go and it’s going to be a fight for every point right until the end of the season.”

Not getting carried away: “The league is such that two straight defeats could be around the corner, and those two could become three or five. Watford were talking about playing European football four or five games ago, but they’ve lost five on the bounce and now they’re not that far away from us.

“That’s the way football goes and we know that, so being a form team concerns me less rather that being a team that plays with the defensive discipline that we had today, because I  believe we have some quality attacking players in our midst and I can trust them to score goals.”

Benteke’s absence: “Wilf and Andros did a fantastic job but when they’re playing together up front, we don’t have that physical presence or focal point in attack that most teams would like. Certainly I miss Benteke in good form, but I’ll be pleased to welcome him back now he’s served his suspension.”

Milivojevic back on penalty taking duties: “We didn’t even discuss who would take the penalty before the game, I just left everyone to assume that he’s the taker. If he didn’t then McArthur would have done so as we decided that amongst ourselves.”

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