“We showed that we are a very honest team, and a hard-working team that respects the integrity of the league,” he said in his post-match press conference. “Now I’ve got to come to terms with the fact that my last game has been played.
“I’m pleased it was at Anfield, because it’s one of the temples of football. You are in the Premier League to play at places like Old Trafford and Anfield, and I think when I look back at it with a little bit of distance, I will be happy it was played here even though we didn’t get the result we wanted today.”
Hodgson described a peculiar final week at the club, after announcing his departure on Tuesday.
“It’s been strange,” he said. “Luckily I’ve had a little bit of time to prepare for it which is good, but it’s been a whirlwind four or five days with so many fantastic moments. The reception at the game on Wednesday night was very, very special. A guard of honour for both teams – you don’t see that very often.
“The Friday was the presentation to Ray Lewington and myself from the players, and that was a really incredible moment. Then I had to process that and come to Anfield which was a very difficult game, and a game in which we had to patch up a bit because we had so many important players missing.
“It was normal in the sense that we tried to prepare it as a normal game, and we’ve been anxious, Ray and I, that we wouldn’t let ourselves down in any way. We wanted to make certain that we showed the character we showed, the work rate, the organisation, the discipline and all the things we’re so proud of having instilled over the last four years – they were on show today.”
Hodgson discussed the match, which saw Palace slip to a 2-0 defeat despite starting the game brightly.
“I thought the players did remarkably well,” he said. “We started the game extremely well. We’re playing one of the top teams in the land – with the form that they’re in they’re right up there with Manchester City.
“The second goal was a deflection, which was unfortunate, and we might have got a positive result from the game, but I still feel very proud of the match, and very proud of the way the team performed.
“[Andros Townsend’s] chance is a chance, of course it is. He struck it well and narrowly missed the post – you see them all the time in every game played. His performance really summed up what we as a team were putting in.
“I knew it would be very tough coming here, but I also know what quality they have as a team. I really can’t ask any more of the players today, and what they gave Crystal Palace football club.”
Hodgson bemoaned the injuries to his side as the season came to a close.
“If Christian Benteke had been fit, he would have played,” he said. If Luka Milivojevic had been fit, he would have played. If Eberechi Eze had been fit, he would have played. If James McArthur had been fit, he would have played.
“All of these are things we have to contend with. But most importantly, this was the third tough game in a week. We made a good fist of the task confronting us here.
“It was the quality of the players we were missing through injury, and that so many others who could have done with a rest had to be patched up to get them out there.”
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