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First Team

Hodgson: This Is An Opportunity To Show Our Quality

21 December 2018

Roy Hodgson has highlighted the "opportunity" presented to Palace by this Saturday's trip north to take on Manchester City.

The Eagles take on the Premier League Champions away from home this weekend, looking to inflict only a second top flight defeat on the Citizens this term.

Though the home side were presented as favourites during the manager's pre-match press conference on Friday, he preferred to see it as a chance for the Eagles to prove themselves against the elite.

"It's one of the 38 games we know we've got to play and it's one of the tougher ones to prepare for because we know we're playing against such a good team," he told the media. "When you analyse what they're capable of and what they've been doing, trying to come up with the right answers is obviously anything other than a free hit."

"As far as we're concerned it's an opportunity for us to go and show we're a good Premier League team and it's another chance to get points. It won't be easy but it's far from impossible, the day it becomes impossible for teams like Crystal Palace to get results against Manchester City the league might just as well fold up and we'll do everything on paper. The game is played on the grass, we aren't beaten yet and the bottom line is: until the referee blows the final whistle we aren't beaten and we have the opportunity with 11 men to do our best to get a result against them.

"Last season, we met them early on and we got heavily beaten 5-0 up there, but when they came here around about this time, we managed to get a 0-0 draw and even gave them the free hit of missing a penalty in the last minute, which was extremely generous of us, I thought!"

The Eagles face two festive fixtures at Selhurst Park after City, something the press suggested could be an advantage, but the manager felt that the preparation would be to the same standard home or away, and that the chance to take on the division's big boys was an added motivator for the lads.

"The players these days are so unbelievably professional, wherever we'd been drawn to play [over the festive period] they would have made themselves ready and prepared to play," he said.

"I've certainly seen no lack of excitement or enthusiasm in the training sessions, so if they aren't excited or ready for the game [against City] they've disguised it very well!" 

"The crux of the matter is: if you're in the league - and we're very pleased and proud to be in the league - you're going to play 38 games, some of those will be against teams where if you look at them on paper you have to hold your hand up and say this is going to be a very tough fixture because they've got some exceptional players, but the beauty of it is you get the chance to play in that game.
"You play in these wonderful arenas, you play in front of massive crowds, the game is televised and watched all around the world, so in actual fact, if you're a serious professional footballer, you're at the pinnacle of where you want to be and as a result it would be disappointing if there were any players, let alone Crystal Palace players, who didn't think: 'Right, I'm looking forward to tomorrow it's Manchester City; fantastic arena, fantastic crowd, millions and millions of people are going to watch me play today... That's why I became a professional footballer.' I don't think our players will be any different to that."

CLICK HERE to watch more from the gaffer ahead of Saturday's game.


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