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First Team

Hodgson Thrilled With His Players' Efforts

22 December 2018

Having seen his side beat Manchester City in a 3-2 thriller, Roy Hodgson said that he couldn’t praise his players enough after Palace stunned the reigning Premier League champions.

Hodgson saw his team recover from the setback of falling a goal behind through Ilkay Gundogan’s opener, but bounce back with two quickfire strikes through Jeffrey Schlupp and Andros Townsend’s sensational 30-yard volley. Luka Milivojevic then netted a penalty to make it 3-1 not long after half-time, and despite Kevin de Bruyne reducing the arrears late on, Palace held on to register a famous win.

Hodgson discussed a number of issues in his post-match, including:

Did he think he could win: “I travelled up thinking we could give a good performance, but getting something from the game was always going to be a tough ask. We certainly didn’t come up here thinking we had no chance or this was a game we had to write off, but what we did think was that unless we produced a performance of quality and discipline and work-rate, then we wouldn’t have much of a chance.

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“Luckily today the goals fell for us. On the counter-attack we scored two good goals and that gives you something to cling onto and makes things a little bit harder for the opposition, even if they are as good as the opposition are.”

Secret to success: “The structure and the discipline the players showed to stick to the gameplan was superb. We realised we were playing against a team who were fantastically good on the ball and it’s very difficult to pressurise them high up the field without opening yourselves up, so we allowed their centre-backs a little more time on the ball and we were very disciplined to make certain that our back four and midfield four blocked all the spaces there.

“We know that it was tough and we rode our luck when the free-kick hit the post but I must say that over the 96 minutes the players feel deserved to be proud of themselves and we don’t need to apologise for getting the three points here today.”

Attacking threat: “It is very difficult to heap anything but praise on the players today. I thought it was a very concentrated, focused and disciplined performance where we took our chances on the counter-attack. We were quite dangerous as I guessed we might be with Wilf and Andros, and luckily this time it paid off.”

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Townsend goal: “It was magnificent, a really wonderful strike. He’s pleased with his performance today as it was his header that hit the post that caused the penalty as well, so he’s going to be feeling really happy with himself.

“When I saw his body shape as the ball came out to him, I thought that wasn’t bad. I wasn’t sure that he was going to volley that in if I’m being honest, but if you get your body in the right position, you have a chance and he struck it very sweetly and it’ll be only of the contenders for Goal of the Week, but also Goal of the Year.”

Late drama: “The 10 or 15 minutes after De Bruyne’s goal was going to be very difficult for us as they were going to play lots of balls into the penalty area and throw lots of players forward but I thought we stood up to that very well and there weren’t too many clear-cut chances where I sensed the equaliser was coming.”

Keeping focus: “It’s a good day’s work and it’s three fantastic points but we need to make certain we don’t throw them away by not doing the job we need to do against Cardiff on Boxing Day. We need to get points from that game as well, otherwise we would have wasted these three bonus points which not too many people expected us to get here today, except ourselves.”

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