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First Team

Hodgson Hails Outstanding Mama And Defensive Excellence

22 September 2018

Roy Hodgson took the opportunity to heap praise on Mamadou Sakho in his post-match media commitments, after the centre-back looked devastated leaving the pitch having missed Palace’s best chance of the game in the dying minutes of the 0-0 draw at Selhurst Park.

The manager said of Sakho, who has helped secure back-to-back clean sheets in the last week: “He’s disappointed [with the missed chance], but he had an outstanding game. I thought the two centre-backs were really good right the way through. So it would have been quite fitting for him to win it for us after that performance.”

Despite having by far the most chances, the boss was left frustrated but by no means downhearted: “I thought we played well enough to win the game. We created enough chances to win the game, but it didn’t go our way today. I’m not disappointed because it was a good performance from start to finish.

“We’ve got a lot to cling to today, as it was a good team performance. I can’t fault anybody through the 90 minutes, and that’s good to take forward into the coming games. We are by no means downhearted, because if we keep playing at that level home and away, we will get the points we need to stay in the league.”

Hodgson summarised the match as a day for the defenders, saying: “Our defensive discipline was very good, as was theirs. The bottom line is, Newcastle came here with a game plan to make it very difficult for us, and to deny us space. To cut down on the way that we want to play, so you have to give them credit for that. But we couldn’t have done an awful lot more today – other than the obvious of taking one or two of those goal chances which would have won us the game.”

Hodgson confirmed that there was nothing more to report on the Zaha injury scare that saw the forward receive treatment moments before kick-off. “He was feeling something at the top of his back; his muscle was taped up. He was passed fit by the doctor and physio, and had no desire not to play the game.”

The manager was also asked about Max Meyer’s performance, after coming on as a 62nd minute substitute, and said he was “very happy” with the German's contribution. “He’s been training very well, we like what we see with him and Kouyate. When he came on, he did a very good job. He knitted out play together very well, and was lively. In our view, he’s a Premier League player.

“He [Meyer] is always in my thoughts to play. I’m quite lucky in that area of the field, as we have competition for places. Schlupp didn’t play, Meyer didn’t start the game, I have Riedewald and Puncheon too, which is quite a nice problem to have. Over the 94 mins, I was more than happy with the way all of the players acquitted themselves.”

Palace now head to West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday night for the third round of the Carabao Cup.  Listen live with Palace Audio for just £1.49.


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