Roy Hodgson has made clear that he feels that his new Crystal Palace team has more than enough to survive in the Premier League this season, despite their stuttering start to the campaign.
The new Eagles boss faced the media this afternoon in his first press conference since being appointed on Tuesday, and he indicated that he has complete belief in himself, the players, the coaching staff and the club to help rectify Palace’s position in the league table.
Revealing his delight at being back amongst the cut and thrust of top-flight football, he said: “I really am happy to be back in this job on a day-to-day basis. The next job that I wanted was a club job that allows me to have much more contact with the players and affect them, rather than going from one international job to another.
“I believe the team will stay up – absolutely. I wouldn’t have dreamt of taking the job if I didn’t, or that I or my coaching staff wouldn’t be the right people to do that. Once the chairman made it clear that he thought that we were the right people, then there has never been a doubt in my mind, and this could be a very good year because if it ends up with us still in the Premier League and the fans happy, then that would make me very happy.
“At Fulham I had 18 games and at West Brom I had 12 games [to keep them up] so this is really quite different. We’ve had a bad start and handicapped ourselves by not taking any points in the first four games, but there are still 34 games to go. I haven’t given many team talks since I’ve been here, but the one point I made when I met the players was that our focus is on May, not on the end of September.”
The Palace job marks Hodgson’s first foray back into management after his four year spell as England manager, which ended last year at Euro 2016 when his Three Lions exited the tournament at the hands of Iceland. Drawing a line under that shock elimination, he says he is now only looking to the future, which now involves him trying to make a success of his local club.
Reflecting on his England tenure, he added: “Careers are defined by small moments and nothing I say or do will change that. I was there for a four-year period and there were a lot of things that I can look back on with satisfaction, but I can’t do that with the tournaments and not being able to progress as far as we would have liked.
“It’s a chapter that has finished and it’s very much in the past as far as I’m concerned. Now another chapter in the book of life is opening for me, and it’s one I’m very much looking forward to and that it will bring some joy to the fans of Crystal Palace. If I could do that, it would be a little bit special.”
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