As Roy Hodgson makes his first visit to the London Stadium for tonight’s derby against West Ham United, his mind goes back to the 2-2 draw at Selhurst in October when he began to see promising signs from his new squad.
The draw was the fourth point picked up of the season and it was a game that the home side came close to winning during an afternoon that the manager started to see some belief showing through in the side's performance.
“We played very well that day and were pretty unlucky not to win the game. It gave us a lot of confidence at that time that we had the ability to attack and defend well against our Premier League opponents and I would like to think that from that game onwards we have been reasonably consistent in our performances.”
Both sides had a weekend off from Premier League duty with West Ham in FA Cup action but Hodgson was able to give his side a well-earned break as the squad were feeling the effects of so many games in a short space of time. On the back of a busy Christmas programme and a hectic start to the New Year Hodgson was pleased to have the opportunity of giving his lads a break from the preparation for tonight’s clash.
“It was beneficial to give the players a couple of days off which we have been unable to do, with our small squad players have really played every game over that busy Christmas period. It was good to have those few days where we could say we don’t have a game until Tuesday so we were able to give them some time off but was still able to have our full weeks training."
Both side go into this contest on the back of good form, West Ham have five without defeat whilst The Eagles have lost just three of their last 15 top flight matches. The Premier League battle for points at the bottom is as tight as it’s ever been and the Palace boss is not expecting that to change as the pressure builds for all in the second half of the season.
“For some time now we have had five or six teams that quite seriously think they can win the league while others are much more interested in staying in it. This year though it's different with such a small number of points between a group of teams it makes it a real dogfight between a bigger number of sides which may continue if the results carry on for the teams involved and it could go down to the wire.”