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Roy Hodgson dissects Palace's tactical Manchester City triumph

6 August 2019

Roy Hodgson oversaw one of the Premier League's most astonishing victories of last season as he guided Crystal Palace to an iconic triumph over Manchester City at their typically unbreachable home ground.

The win wasn't earned solely through pluck and defensive determination, however, and was an accomplishment with intricate tactical foundations and thorough preparation that stretched well before the matchday morning.

Now, in Palace TV's exclusive season review, Hodgson has revealed the key behind the win and given his own eye-opening assessment of that iconic December afternoon.

To start, he picked out two key men and explained the role in which they played.

"Wilf Zaha played as a lone target-player and worked hard to bother the opposing defence as much as he possibly could," Hodgson began, before picking out the pair who perhaps went unmentioned - bar 30-yard thunderstrike praise - at the time. "Two players who perhaps didn’t get the credit they deserved on the day were Max [Meyer] and Andros [Townsend] for the very good tactical approach they adopted to the game and how they actually managed to help us carry out the gameplan that we put in place.

"[They] both did a fantastic job in making certain that by blocking off those passes that they [City] like to make out to the wide players or the fullbacks, they threatened that pass all the time and therefore kept Manchester City playing in front of us.

"If we’d have pushed up higher in an attempt to pressurise their back players earlier and Max and Andros hadn’t been able to maintain their discipline, it would have been much more difficult for us."

Turning his attention to the game as a whole, Hodgson offered insight into the thinking behind his preparation for the clash, showing that Palace had set up to inhibit their hosts in the most crucial areas.

"The back four, of course, had a lot of work to do as we knew they would. But we also knew that with the type of players we had, if we could show a bit of composure when we won the ball there was a good chance maybe we’ll be able to break on them and score goals ourselves.

"Yes, they had the ball in our final third. Yes, they had shots blocked. Yes, they had crosses that we dealt with. But a lot of it was them probing and probing and not finding the spaces they wanted; not finding the passes that they normally use to cut open the opposing defence.

"That demanded an awful lot of work and discipline from the players so it was an incredibly hard-working, well-disciplined performance."

SEE ALSO: WATCH: Stunning documentary film on Palace’s 18/19 season

Captain and winning goalscorer Luka Milivojevic added to Hodgson's comments, showing just how far the manager and his staff prepared for their toughest challenge to date.

"Before the game you get confidence that it’s going to happen - everything they said, how they [Palace staff] scouted them [City]. 

"We must say that we deserved to win that game because we played very good over 90 minutes. Of course, against City you don’t have a lot of chances, a lot of the ball, but the chances we had we converted to goals and when you go to the Etihad and score three goals, you must say that you deserve one of the biggest wins for Crystal Palace. To win against that team in that stadium is hard for many, many big teams to do that."

Now, almost eight months later, after pundits praised Palace's resolute performance, it is clear that the Eagles' striking victory had far more complex foundations than a parked bus.

You can hear more from Hodgson on the entire 2018/19 campaign as well as Milivojevic, chairman Steve Parish and others as well as exclusive behind the scenes and matchday footage in our feature-length season review.

Gold and Junior Gold Members can watch the film free of charge by clicking here now if they log-in using the correct membership credentials, whilst all other supporters can pay to stream the film for £3.49. Once purchased, it can be watched again and again - it remains on your Palace TV account.

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