One positive among the frustrations from Crystal Palace’s last-minute loss to Leeds United on Tuesday night was Will Hughes’ debut, with the summer signing taking to the turf in red and blue for the first time at Elland Road.
Hughes came on after 82 minutes having joined Palace in a busy window earlier this year.
He explained why the debut took a few months to arrive, saying: “I didn’t really have a pre-season at my previous club so had a bit of a knock-back there in terms of fitness. So it took me a while to build-up. I had a minor back injury which put me back even more, but I’m fully fit now and raring to go.
“[Working under Patrick Vieira] has been brilliant. He’s one of the all-time greats in the Premier League so I’m learning a lot from him and really enjoying it here.”
Hughes arrival couldn’t prevent late heartache for Palace as Leeds were awarded a penalty in the 93rd-minute, which Raphina promptly converted. The Palace midfielder looked more closely on the game itself, assessing both his and the team’s performance.
He told Palace TV: “[I was] thoroughly delighted to get on the pitch but it’s a frustrating way to lose the game, especially with how we played throughout. I thought we managed them pretty well, soaked up the pressure and had chances ourselves. If you don’t take your chances it will come back and bite you.
“It’s frantic. Leeds play in such a unique way. The gameplan seemed to work pretty well: we stifled them for long periods of the game and had chances ourselves. It’s just so frustrating to end it like we did.”