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Hodgson talks tactics, Ayew & Cahill after huge three points

24 August 2019

Roy Hodgson became the first manager of the Eagles to win at Old Trafford in the Premier League era, and post-match Hodgson discussed the excellent afternoon for his side.

Beginning with analysis of the 90 minutes, Hodgson said: "The key was the defensive discipline, the shape of the team, the enormous work rate and effort and the fact that people did very well to stick to the script at all times. We were getting asked a lot of questions, which we knew would; we’d seen them play against Wolves and Chelsea.

"We knew that if we didn’t seal the spaces, if we didn’t make certain that when we lost the ball we got back into our shape and let them have the ball in spaces that are less dangerous to us, they’d score goals.

"We rode our luck with the penalty; I thought this is going to be tricky now if they score this penalty. But when we got away with that one I was rather hoping we’d see it out 1-0, as it turned out we got through 2-1 thanks to a good piece of work from Wilf and James McCarthy."

Jordan Ayew opened the scoring for the south Londoners in Manchester and Hodgson was quick to priase the striker for his response to not starting away at Sheffield United: "He [Ayew] was unlucky to lose his place when I wanted to play two front players and I chose Wilf to partner Christian Benteke rather than him.

"He would’ve been quite entitled to say ‘I played quite well against Everton’ but there was no doubt in my mind that I was going to bring him back for this game. And basically he had a very specific job to do, apart from of course being a good centre-forward, holding the ball up, beating players when he can and scoring goals; he had another very important job to do: making sure Paul Pogba couldn’t come deep and spread passes all around the play."

Gary Cahill made his Palace debut today, and although Hodgson was delighted with his summer signing's perofrmance, the manager was keen to point out the credentials of the player Cahill had replaced in Scott Dann: "It would be unfair to suggest that only Cahill can bring that experience; Scott Dann has also brought experience to the team, it’s just that I had a choice to make today, I had three centre-backs and I wanted Gary to play, and I had to make a choice whether I played Scott Dann or Martin Kelly alongside Gary Cahill and I chose Martin Kelly and I think the way the team performed and those two performed justified the decision."

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