Thursday 5 December 2019

Hodgson wants Eagles to remain grounded despite lofty perch

Crystal Palace boss Hodgson was left with mixed emotions over Mamadou Sakho’s red card.

Jeffrey Schlupp (right) has scored off the bench in Crystal Palace’s last two games (Adam Davy/PA)
Jeffrey Schlupp (right) has scored off the bench in Crystal Palace’s last two games (Adam Davy/PA)

By George Sessions, PA

Roy Hodgson is not getting carried away with Crystal Palace’s position in the Premier League table despite the Eagles flying high up in fifth.

A 1-0 win over Bournemouth, thanks to Jeffrey Schlupp’s 76th-minute strike, made it back-to-back victories for the south Londoners.

The success was all the more impressive given they spent the majority of the game with 10 men after Mamadou Sakho received his marching orders in the 19th minute.

Hodgson said: “It is better to be fifth than fifth from bottom, but it’s 15 games played and there is another 23 to play so being fifth now doesn’t mean we will be fifth in 23 games’ time.

“I think 21 points is a very good return from 15 games so I am more than happy with that, but I won’t get carried away by fifth place.”

When Sakho was sent off by referee Anthony Taylor for a reckless challenge on Adam Smith, it looked like it could be a long night for Palace.

But backed by a partisan home crowd, the Eagles defended resolutely and substitute Schlupp – on for the injured Patrick Van Aanholt – rifled home with 14 minutes left.

On the red card, Hodgson added: “I thought there was no malice in the challenge. It was a fierce challenge.

“I think there would have been a time when those challenges were part and parcel of the game, but in recent seasons referees are being encouraged to take into account the degree of aggression.

“I can’t deny it was a strong and aggressive challenge so the referee makes the decision which these days they are being encouraged to take.

“Of course you always feel a little bit hard done by because the ball is there to be won and it was a brave and strong challenge from Mamadou.”

Sakho will now miss Saturday’s game at Watford, but Palace will hope to have one of Gary Cahill (knee) or Scott Dann (ankle) available.

Hodgson added: “I’m certainly not writing either of those two off at the moment and I am hoping they will recover in time, but I won’t know until Thursday.”

For Bournemouth, it was a fourth straight defeat and made it one win from their last nine league matches.

Boss Eddie Howe went over to the away supporters at full-time and urged them to blame him for the recent results.

He added: “I was just saying I take responsibility for what we’ve delivered.

“When you are the manager and you are coaching the team, there is no one else to look at other than me. I wanted the supporters to know I was shouldering that responsibility.

“We were not good, there’s no hiding that and it was very disappointing. It was a good opportunity with the sending-off to really ram home that advantage and secure much-needed points.

“But we didn’t attack or pass the ball well enough. With the advantage, it almost had an adverse effect.

“We became predictable and a bit stale and they defended well and made it very difficult.”

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