Having seen his team finally score and pick up their first points of the 2017/18 campaign, Roy Hodgson was thrilled with the fine team display from his Palace players that saw them beat Chelsea 2-1.
The Eagles manager could finally celebrate his first Premier League win at the Eagles’ helm after a Cesar Azpilicueta own goal and Wilfried Zaha’s late first half effort got Hodgson’s team off the mark for the campaign, having endured seven straight defeats since the opening day.
In his post-match press conference, he talked about a number of topics, including:
View on the game: “I thought it was a good team performance. Our defending was excellent from the first minute to the last, our midfield passing and movement was very good and Andros and Wilf made a big difference to our play by their ability to beat people with the ball, but also run behind people and use their pace, so we had much more goal threat today.
“It would be a little unfair that a performance we’re all proud of is because one good player who hasn’t been playing returned. Wilf of course played a large part in that without a doubt, but the reason we beat the champions was because we had Wilf Zaha and 10 others.”
Game plan: “We’ve had time to work with the team and we’re understanding more about what we need to do as a team. All tactics have to be based on very solid principles and we have to understand what we need to do when we defend, and what we need to do when we attack. There are of course minor tweaks which we are obliged to do because we only have one out-and-out centre forward in the club, and he won’t be playing for another three or four weeks.”
Could have won by a bigger margin?: “I think it’s greedy if you suggest that it should have been more. We did have a lot of chances but they did too, and we wouldn’t have had to apologise today if we had scored four or five goals today because our chances were pretty clear-cut. I am pleased that we got one more than them.”
New beginning?: “I don’t embrace that idea. For me, the league is 38 matches and each one is its own particular story – sometimes it’s a good one like it is today and we’d like to read that chapter again, but unfortunately next Saturday there’s another story. We would be foolish to start thinking that because we deservedly won today, that doesn’t mean we’ll win against Newcastle or West Ham. We have to go back to square one, realise what we’ve done well to get this win, and make sure we reproduce it.”
International break coming at a good time: “The defensive work and organisation is down to four weeks’ work, not two. We worked on it during the break and we didn’t give the players extra days off. In those sessions we did what we had been doing before the games before Manchester United and Manchester City. The longer you work and the more you hammer home the important messages, with a little bit of luck they’ll sink in.”
How will he celebrate?: “You forget how stressful those last minutes of a match are, and it’s nice to sit here and relax knowing nothing can happen and Chelsea can’t score! It’s a nice feeling and that’s enough for me at the moment, and I have to stop myself being concerned about what’s coming and not allow enough time to take stock of this very good result.
“I’m off to Southampton to watch Newcastle play tomorrow, so my wife who is accompanying me can’t say that I never give her a day out!”