Roy Hodgson admitted that he was disappointed to see his side concede twice from set-pieces in Crystal Palace’s 4-1 defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.
A horrendous start by Palace saw them 4-0 behind after just 22 minutes thanks to goals from Nacho Monreal, Alex Iwobi, Laurent Koscielny and Alexandre Lacazette, but an improved second 45 saw Luka Milivojevic pull one back and the Eagles boss praised his team’s resilience after the break to ensure they weren’t on the end of a mauling.
Speaking in his post-match press conference, he discussed a number of issues, including:
The result: “It was hard to take because we conceded two goals from corner kicks which is something that we haven’t been doing recently; we’ve been quite strong at avoiding those goals. We encountered an Arsenal team in that 20 minute period buoyed by the early goals and showed the full range of their passing skills, their movement in the middle of the field and the speed and accuracy of their passing. It very much put us on the back foot.
“The game was over very early on for us today. At 2-0 down after eight minutes at the Emirates against Arsenal, that’s not a good position to be in. At half-time I thought we were staring down the barrel of a gun, as a team of Arsenal’s quality with the players they have and being four goals up meant they couldn’t possibly lose, and it was just a question of how many they wanted to score.
“Had we not marshalled ourselves and shown the character and work-rate that the players showed in the second half, it would have been an avalanche. As it turned out, not only did we stop them scoring but we managed one of our own and reduced the deficit to minus-three rather than minus-seven or eight.”
Conceding twice from corners: “We were maybe guilty of was not flagging up the threat from set-plays. We normally go through them and what they do and our markers, but this time we failed to pull that off. I don’t think that the players would tell you that we conceded two goals because we didn’t know what we should be doing – we did because one man lost his marker twice and they scored.”
Injury situation: “We’ve lost two to cruciate ligament injuries, one to a medial ligament injury, we’ve lost Loftus-Cheek to an ankle ligament and we’ve probably lost Cabaye to one too. We’ve only just got Joel Ward back and we’ve still got Mamadou Sakho trying to recover after a major calf injury, so that’s an awful lot of players of good quality for any team in the lower half of the league to deal with.
“Going into today, every player that we have available was with us today – two goalkeepers and 16 outfield players. That’s all we’ve got because all the others are in the treatment room, so of course we need some more players. More importantly we need at least one or two of the injured players to get back fit and be with us as quickly as possible, but I think we’ll be looking at the end of February for that to happen.”
Potential boost following Sanchez uncertainty?: “I always prepare for the best of the opposition and stories are then circulated that this is a good time to play them. I never believe them; with the quality of players that Arsenal have and playing together for a long while too, they’re always capable of producing a scintillating 20 or 25 minutes which put the game beyond doubt.”
Options from the bench: “Lee and Souare haven’t played a Premier League game in the first-team [since Hodgson’s appointment], Damien Delaney has played one game right at the very start, Jairo Riedewald has played twice and Joel Ward is only just back from injury.
"Andros Townsend made a remarkable recovery to sit on the bench; when I left training on Thursday he was still injured, and it was amazing when I got in on Friday and I was told that I might be able to use him from the bench.”