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Hodgson praises defence in explaining away form

13 September 2019

Roy Hodgson has praised Crystal Palace's defensive abilities before facing Tottenham Hotspur tomorrow, explaining that they have gone some way to making the club's away form as strong as it is.

The Palace manager was asked about the significance of his team's ability to remain tight across the back this season, having the best defensive record of any side in the Premier League so far.

Assessing how important it is for the team to succeed, Hodgson drew attention to the Eagles' capabilities going backwards over the past two years.

"Our defence has been pretty good throughout," Hodgson said, referring to his time with the club. "If you take away the opening seven games of the first season, our defensive record is not bad at all. If you’re keeping clean sheets and keeping it very, very tight, you make it that much harder for the opposition.

"Players who are given time and space can use it to their advantage. We need to make sure we don’t relent on that side of it. 

"I think defensively we are quite tight and not easy to beat. Away from home, spaces open up to you more because the home team might feel obliged to attack. At home, you might meet a team that’s more circumspect.

"We can use those spaces [away] because we have a lot of players who are good at running with the ball. We don’t try specifically to change our game from home matches to away matches. People might be berating me for a bad away record and good home record at the end of the season but as long as we get the points. Our goal is to get enough points to be in the Premier League for the 2020/21 season."

Hodgson also remarked upon the individuals who make up his defence, drawing out the calibre of Palace's centre-backs in recent years and how they have been bolstered by one recent addition.

He said: "We’ve been very blessed with centre-backs at this club. The first two seasons we had Scott Dann, James Tomkins, Mamadou Sakho, Martin Kelly, very good combinations. This season we were unlucky, losing two from last year - both out injured and [they] haven’t really reappeared.

"Now Scott Dann of course and Martin Kelly have picked up injuries. We’re well blessed in that part of the squad. What Gary’s done is been that focal point and we’ve had to find one player to go alongside him rather than two. He’s had a marvellous start which is fantastic."

You can find out more about the injuries to Palace's squad by clicking here.

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