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First Team

Hodgson Praises Plucky Grimsby

5 January 2019

Having seen his side have to wait until four minutes from time to finally end Grimsby Town’s resilience, Roy Hodgson praised the League Two outfit for making things difficult for his Palace players in their 1-0 FA Cup third round win.

Jordan Ayew’s 86th-minute header settled matters in south London during an encounter that saw VAR utilised early on to send off Mariners defender Andrew Fox, and the hosts hit the woodwork three times before Ayew popped up with the winner, but Hodgson was impressed by Michael Jolley’s team who came so close to clinching a replay against the odds.

Speaking in his post-match press conference, Hodgson discussed a number of issues including:

Grimsby: “You have to give them a lot of credit. They lost a player so early in the game and had to regroup and set their stall out again and do a lot of very good individual defending from crosses and shots, so they deserve a lot of credit.

“Our players also deserve credit too for keeping going and keep trying to find that pass or shot that would win us the game. It took a while but we got there in the end.”

Match as a spectacle: “It was a war of attrition. For football matches to be exciting they have to have a cut and thrust – one team attacking while the other defends and vice versa. It was purely a matter of us having the ball for all of the game and facing a very well-organised team.

“Of course they’re going to take time over everything and that’s normal and what everyone would do, but in games between Premier League teams and League Two teams you rarely see the spectacle you want unless you score early in the game.”

Match Reports

Report: Crystal Palace 1-0 Grimsby Town

5 January 2019

Jordan Ayew: “He did quite well when he came on. It looked a relatively easy chance which was good, but there were a few other easy chances in that situation that we missed but we did have balls cleared off the line and hit the post as well. We had 33 shots which goes to show we weren’t exactly sitting back and resting on our laurels, we were doing best to find a breakthrough.”

VAR incident: “It was early in the game and was a long way from where I was standing. Martin [Atkinson] is an excellent referee and did very well during the game, and he decided it was a yellow card. There were no complaints or criticisms from us and we accepted it, but he must have been told by the VAR people that it should be looked at as it might be more than a yellow card. As a good referee does, he took the advice of VAR because that’s what it’s there for.”

Alexander Sørloth: “He’s a much better player than he’s been able to show in the games because we see him every day in training, but for goalscorers confidence plays a big part. Perhaps the last thing you want as a centre-forward is to see the opposing team put 10 players behind the ball so every time it arrives in your area you have two guys around you waiting to nick it off you if your control isn’t quite right.

“I think he was unlucky – in the very first minute we had a very good attack and cross from Andros and he headed it very well to the far post and it was cleared off the line. Had it gone in, it would have been a good goal and got us off to a perfect start, and him too as he would have scored in the first couple of minutes. It was a tough ask and Connor found it the same when he came on.”

Pape Souare’s injury: “I’m very disappointed for him. I’ve worked with him for over a year and he’s done so well to get back from a horrendous injury, and he’s been out there every day in training trying his very best to get better and show me that he’s a good player. Unfortunately, he’s found a guy like Patrick van Aanholt in front of him.

“Today was the day that I was hoping to get him on the field of play and show what he shows us in training and come off the field victorious and happy. To come off injured was a bitter blow, and it was an unfortunate thing where he was bowled over, fell awkwardly and picked up a shoulder injury. I can only hope that he can recover quickly, but it’s not a minor injury; it could keep him out for weeks.”

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