After seeing his Crystal Palace players clinch Premier League safety by beating Stoke City, Roy Hodgson heaped praise on the Eagles squad, as well as his backroom team.
The Eagles boss saw his team recover from Xherdan Shaqiri’s opener by levelling through James McArthur following a swift counter-attack, and then five minutes from time Patrick van Aanholt pounced on an error from Ryan Shawcross to snatch the three points that mathematically secured Palace’s top-flight status.
However, Hodgson was quick to redistribute the post-match praise coming his way for masterminding the unlikeliest of comebacks after being pointless after seven games, sharing it out amongst three key areas of the club.
Speaking in his post-match press conference, he spoke about a number of topics, including:
Key to survival: “It’s a tale of three teams The important team is the one that got out on the field and played, and with all the injury problems we’ve had, we’ve used quite a few as at one stage we had 10 in the treatment room. The players deserve all the credit for producing the football necessary to keep us in the league.
“I would also like to pay tribute to the medical and sports science team. We’ve had problems with injury this year that I’ve never experienced in my management career, but we’ve overcome them. They’ve done well to get them back on the field again, often much quicker than was suggested.
“The final tribute I would like to pay is to my own team – Ray Lewington, Steven Reid, Dean Kiely and Martyn Margetson before him. I think they’ve done a good job trying to ensure that the players go onto the field each week prepared for the match they’re going to play.”
His contribution to survival: “Every orchestra needs a band leader and I’ve been quite happy to wave the baton this year. It’s been a good year and I’ll get a lot of credit.
"I don’t intend to be hypocritical and say I won’t enjoy that or the pats on the back that will come my way, but I’m certainly wise enough to know that it’s not a one-man job. If you’re going to do well at Premier League level, you’re going to need an awful lot of help from a lot of people.”
Stoke’s relegation: “If all of us who are going to survive this year have any intelligence or the capability to show some empathy, we’re all going to think ourselves very fortunate that we’re going to survive and others didn’t. I don’t think Paul can ask any more from his team today; they were organised, enthusiastic and full of fight to win the game.
“I’m proud that our team, after a tough first half where we went 1-0 down, were able to come out in the second half and play the sort of football which enabled us to win the game. You have to be happy with every win you get, and it would be hypocritical to say you don’t get any pleasure seeing your team win the game, but you don’t when you see the pain etched on the coaching staff and the players here.
“Whereas we are in the happy position of being able to prepare for next season and congratulate ourselves on surviving, I’m afraid Stoke face the need to go again. This is a big club and has had such a long period in the Premier League with so much success, and have an owner that cares so much for the club. I think if they continue in the way that they’ve done in the last couple of months, I would be surprised not to see them near the top of the Championship next year.”
Looking forward to pre-season?: “It depends how well we replace the numerous players we’re likely to lose. If we’re going to have a good season next season where we have stability and not being frightened to death every time a match comes that we’re going to lose it and be back in the relegation zone, I’ll need a good squad of players.
“There is a lot of work to do from Dougie Freedman in particular and our chairman and owners. They’ve got an awful lot to do to ensure that when I come back to pre-season training, there’s a group of players in front of me that I feel confident will be able to do what these have done, because we’re going to lose a few good ones – we won’t have any other choice.”