After seeing Bristol City romp to a 4-1 victory to knock Palace out of the Carabao Cup, Roy Hodgson admitted that his gamble to rest 10 players backfired at Ashton Gate.
The Eagles exited the competition at the fourth round stage after City recovered from Bakary Sako’s opener to score twice in each half, and Hodgson was disappointed that the players he included didn’t make the impact he was hoping for.
Speaking in the post-match press conference, he discussed a number of issues, including:
Team selection: “Basically I took a risk and I take the responsibility for that. We’ve had a couple of tough Premier League games and played well in them, so I was anxious that we rested those players and anxious to see some players.
“A lot of those players out there I’ve not had a chance to watch in first-team action and it was an opportunity for them to knock on the door of the first-team and start threatening the places of the team I’ve played in the last two games. I’m bitterly disappointed that that didn’t work out because there were very few performances out there that made me think I was picking the wrong team.
“I’m also very disappointed for the fans who came all this way not knowing what team I was going to pick and possibly thinking that they were coming here to watch the team that played against Chelsea and Newcastle, and I’m disappointed by the way we capitulated after the first 45 minutes when we had the better of the game. We contrived to give away goals at important times and we’re on the back of a heavy defeat.”
Bristol City: “They did well – we knew they were a good team and were strong at home. We knew about the long throw but we weren’t able to deal with it, and they had some players who would put pressure on our back four aggressively. We knew that the centre-backs come forward and they hit long balls into your penalty area and get on the end of knock downs. We tried to warn the players about that but unfortunately we didn’t deal with it.”
Regret not picking stronger team?: “If you do that and lose or pick up a couple of injuries then people tell you the opposite, so you can’t win on that one. That’s a decision you have to make and I take responsibility for it; I don’t have hindsight. Whatever team you pick, if you don’t come here and get through to the next round then people will say you shouldn’t have done it.”
Confidence dented?: “You play a team that is nothing like the one that played in the last two Premier League matches but people still want to discuss the club and team as if you have played the first-team. As far as I’m concerned we took a chance by playing boys like Sullay Kaikai, Freddie Ladapo and Levi Lumeka who have barely any Premier League experience, or even Football League experience.”