Roy Hodgson praised Vicente Guaita after the Spanish shot stopper’s Man of the Match winning performance to keep a clean sheet on Saturday.
Asked in his pre-match press conference for his opinion on Guaita as a free transfer, Hodgson highlighted the strength of the club’s recent loans and free signings and also the strength in depth of their goalkeeping options.
He said: I think we’ve been pretty lucky with our free transfers and loans over the last two-and-a-half years so I would put him up there with people who deserve to be named in that category. He did have a very good game on Saturday but of course he is very well protected by the team in front of him and I’m sure he’d be the first to say that.
“On the odd occasion when they [the opposition] do get through and there’s a shot to save, he’s proved to be unbelievably reliable. We’re delighted to have him and I think we’re exceptionally fortunate at this club to have a goalkeeper of Wayne Hennessey’s calibre prepared to accept at the moment that his place has been usurped by Vicente but to still carry on working and training and doing as well as he does. We are blessed in the goalkeeper department and I name Stephen Henderson, our third choice.”
Guaita has played four consecutive matches for Palace this season, having suffered a slight injury to rule him out of games against Manchester City and Arsenal.
With the December schedule seeing Palace face six teams in one month, and then Norwich City immediately afterwards on New Year’s Day, Hodgson was then asked about his plans to rotate the squad. While making it clear that he is willing to change the lineup when necessary, Hodgson said that his primary focus is to win matches with the strongest team possible.
“I don’t seek rotation and change for rotation and change’s sake. I’d like to think we’ll make changes when those changes are the right ones to make.
“We are lucky I think to have a very good bench at the moment and a lot of players on Saturday who are heavily knocking on the door to get their chance. And with all these games coming up, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if some changes are going to be needed. But I’m not looking for rotation, I’m looking to keep winning football matches with what I consider to be our best team.”
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