Reflecting on his side’s efforts, Hodgson said: “I thought they worked unbelievably hard. We came across a Man City in top form, their pressurising was absolutely excellent – they gave us literally no time on the ball whatsoever. Of course, they played with their usual aplomb in the final third. But I thought we were a bit unlucky in a sense that the two goals came one after the other. Had we gone in at one-nil, then given the second half performance we gave, who knows?”
“But we can’t make any complaints about the result – we were beaten by a top team. But I’m still very proud of our team for the way they kept in the game, they way they kept fighting, even when things weren’t going their way – they never dropped their heads, they never gave up.”
Hodgson’s men certainly put up a spirited performance particularly in the second half, but it was the second goal, which came just 30 seconds after the restart from the first, that dealt the killer blow to the south London side.
“We were defending well, the defenders worked hard to follow the game plan. To make certain we seal off the space that their players need and want to use. But it’s hard to seal them off completely because of the quality of their players. We weren’t exactly conceding a goal chance every few minutes. But at 0-2, the ability and composure they have to keep the ball, it was going to be very tough.
“We’d have needed an early goal [in response] to shake them, and the longer the game went on that didn’t happen. But we kept going, and kept trying, and made Ederson make two or three very good saves. We had the ball in their penalty area a lot more in that half, and I’m afraid that’s the best we could do in the game.”
Ederson’s most impressive moment between City’s sticks came in the 75th minute, when substitute Christian Benteke’s first touch – a powerful header from an outswinging Van Aanholt corner - was brilliantly saved by the Brazilian goalkeeper. Hodgson hopes Benteke can take the positives from that moment, despite him missing out on his first goal of the season: “It would have been a great moment for him. It was such a good header – it looked like it was in to me. I didn’t expect the goalkeeper to make that save. He’s got to take a lot of credit and a lot of satisfaction that he was so close to scoring, it could so easily have been a goal. Hopefully he’ll take that with him and he won’t be too downhearted. It was good to see him get in that position and getting ahead of his man.”
Watch extensive post-match reaction now on Palace TV in the official Palace app.