Sport Soccer

Monday 23 September 2019

Hodgson: Palace's win over Stoke is sign of a transformation already under way

Palace celebrated a come-from-behind win over Stoke
Palace celebrated a come-from-behind win over Stoke

Roy Hodgson has insisted Crystal Palace's dramatic 2-1 defeat of Stoke should not be viewed as the "turning point" of their season because that transformation had already begun.

Mamadou Sakho's stoppage-time finish secured three vital points, their recovery from a goal down at Selhurst Park, and the clearest indication yet the manager will inspire them to survival.

They remain bottom of the Premier League but next week could climb out of the relegation zone after goals from Sakho and Ruben Loftus-Cheek - after Xherdan Shaqiri had given Stoke the lead - showed their belief and provided significant momentum.

Victory also comes after a period in which Hodgson felt his team - who looked certain for relegation under his predecessor Frank de Boer - had not been rewarded for their performances against Everton, Tottenham and West Ham.

Palace face a kinder run of fixtures against Brighton, West Brom, Bournemouth, Watford, Leicester and Swansea in the coming weeks, but Hodgson said: "When you talk about turning things around, that happened five or six games ago.

"We've turned things around enormously and given some very good performances but we haven't always been rewarded with the victories.

"I don't want to say that this is the catalyst for lots and lots of victories. What it means is that we know what we've got to do for the next 25 games."

It is 10 seasons since Hodgson impressively inspired Fulham to Premier League survival on the season's final day, and referencing that, he said: "We were out of the league for a long, long time.

"I'd like us to climb out of our hole a bit quicker than Fulham were able to climb out of theirs.

"It wasn't just (Loftus-Cheek's) goal, it was his all-round performance. All Ruben needs is games, experience and the knowledge that he can do it week-after-week."

Defeat was regardless harsh on 15th-placed Stoke, who could have regained the lead in the second half when their captain Ryan Shawcross turned Shaqiri's goal-bound cross wide.

The Swiss had given them the lead with a fine goal early in the second half, and their manager Mark Hughes said: "We've restricted the home side to very few clear-cut opportunities and by virtue of individual errors we've allowed them to score two goals.

"The story of the game should have been Shaqiri's excellend individual goal. We had more than enough chances to win the game. If we'd kept the lead a little bit longer it would have been more difficult for them to come back at us.

"Overall our form is OK and our general play is good.

"(But) that's how it is. You've got to make sure that you take your chances and defend properly and at the moment we're making too many defensive errors individually and collectively."

PA Media

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