The Eagles were winning 1-0 at the break thanks to Craig Cathcart’s own goal, but would see that quickly turned around thanks to two goals in seven minutes as Cathcart gained some retribution before a fine volley from Tom Cleverley settled matters in south London.
The hosts saw some good opportunities slip by as the game unfolded that ensured they fell to defeat, but Hodgson feels that he couldn’t have asked for more from those he selected to take on the Hornets.
Speaking in his post-match press conference, the Palace boss addressed a number of issues, including:
Post-match reaction: “It’s tough to lose any game, especially at home and it’s made tougher that we’ve been doing quite well lately. I was hoping that this would be the chance for us to get that elusive third victory that would have lifted us to a much more comfortable place in the table.
“We were unable to get it, and when that happens there is no other emotion that I can display other than the obvious one of feeling very sad that we couldn’t do it.”
The game: “We started the second half very brightly which was important after taking the lead late in the first, and we had our chances to increase the lead which would have made things very difficult for Watford but we didn’t and then the game evened out.
“They scored from a corner kick and then when the game is in the balance Tom Cleverley scored a wonder-volley and we missed a very good opportunity when McArthur didn’t get a touch on the ball and then at 2-1 with 15 minutes to play, the game becomes what it is.
“Of the three goalkeepers, Ben [Foster] was the busiest and made the clearest and best saves, while we were fortunate to survive the early strikes that hit the post and I suppose we were lucky not to concede when Wan-Bissaka cleared the ball off the line, so they had their chances as well.”
Missed chances: “If you want to win games, then you have to take the chances that come your way. Watford must be comfortable in that respect because they hit the post twice and had one cleared off the line and chances to score their two goals. We perhaps weren’t as effective and only scored one goal, but that’s what football is.
“There aren’t many games this year where I have thought we were outplayed or didn’t deserve to win, but there have been games like this where the game could so easily have gone either way and you get questions about regrets or frustrations. I don’t think I could have asked for a lot more from the players; we certainly didn’t lose the game because there wasn’t the desire to win it.”
Guaita injury: “We don’t know yet [how bad it is] but it’s an injury to his calf which will have to be assessed, but he couldn’t continue. How bad it is we probably won’t know until he’s had a scan, but it was a definite muscle injury, it wasn’t cramp or a kick.”
Cleverley and Foster coming back to haunt him: “It only happens to you when you’ve been at a few clubs and you’ve had a few games under your belt, then you come against guys that you’ve worked with in the past and they invariably turn up and do a good job against you. It’s not the first time it’s happened to me, and I’m always hoping it’ll be the last.”