Despite seeing his side fall behind to a contentious penalty award, Roy Hodgson believes that the manner of the two goals his Palace side conceded were just as influential in the 3-1 defeat to Brighton.
The Palace boss saw his team go three goals behind before half-time thanks to Glenn Murray’s spot-kick and strikes from Leon Balogun and Florin Andone, and a frustrating second half would slip by without the visitors causing too much concern for the Seagulls until the 80th minute when Luka Milivojevic netted a spot-kick of his own.
However, Hodgson’s team would suffer defeat to their arch-rivals, but despite his disappointment he refused to blame referee Kevin Friend for the penalty award and preferred to focus on his team’s defending throughout.
Speaking in his post-match press conference, he covered a number of topics, including:
Game hinge on penalty award?: “Who knows, but we had to adjust and we didn’t. The second and third goals are just as disappointing and frustrating to use two buzzwords. When you come here hoping to win the game and you lose 3-1 there are no good feelings or anything particularly positive that I can say.
“In every football match you can point to episodes and things being different but the second goal is something that we have to take total responsibility for and the third even more so; it wasn’t even an attack, just a clearance.”
Did the penalty affect the players?: “Football does those things and you never know what will happen. The pattern of the game is impossible to envisage – things happen and you have to deal with them. In regards to the penalty, there’s no point in allowing that to totally disturb the way you want to play, irrespective of whether you think it was correctly or incorrectly given.
“You maybe have to make certain in those situations that you don’t compound it by conceding two other goals which are definitely going to put the home team in the ascendancy. In every game there are so-called injustices and decisions that can be contested, from penalties to throw-ins. It’s a fact of life and something you have to deal with.”
Tempted to make changes at half-time: “I am always tempted but there are other games coming up. If I thought I could make a change that would put us in an undoubted position to win the game 4-3 with the players that are on the bench then I would have done it, but everybody knows as well as I do that we don’t have that type of player.”
Second half: “Suddenly we’re 3-0 down against a team albeit with 10 men, and you know they believe they can win the game as long as they defend sensibly in the second half. We expected them to do that and they did. We dominated possession and tried our best and had plenty of moves and attempts, but it only led to the one goal and as a result we lost the game.
“There aren’t that many games in the Premier League where the home team going in at 3-0 up end up on the losing side because every team in this league know the importance of defending.”
Moving on: “All we can do now is pick ourselves up and remember how well we are capable of playing. We go home knowing that tonight was not the performance we wanted to give, and it certainly wasn’t the result we wanted, but the result is the result.
“There is nothing I can say or do that can change that, and there’s no point than accepting the fact that we lost on the night and congratulate Brighton on their victory. We have to make certain that we are learning lessons that are there to be learnt and put this game behind us so that it doesn’t have any effect in the games to come.”