Tuesday 20 August 2019

Palace boss Hodgson keen to keep star trio

Wilfried Zaha, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and the on-loan Michy Batshuayi starred in victory over Bournemouth.

Michy Batshuayi, left, will be a summer target for Crystal Palace (Bradley Collyer/PA)
Michy Batshuayi, left, will be a summer target for Crystal Palace (Bradley Collyer/PA)

By Declan Warrington, Press Association Sport

Roy Hodgson urged Crystal Palace to secure the futures of Wilfried Zaha and Aaron Wan-Bissaka and chase the permanent signing of Michy Batshuayi after watching them excel in beating Bournemouth 5-3.

The outstanding Zaha contributed to all five goals, two of which were scored by Batshuayi on an afternoon when Wan-Bissaka also impressed, ensuring Palace’s 12th-placed finish and club-record Premier League points tally of 49.

Batshuayi has scored six times in 13 appearances since his arrival on loan from Chelsea, transforming Palace’s previously blunt attack, and Hodgson said of the 25-year-old: “If Michy Batshuayi was going to be available, either on loan or buy him, I would be very happy with that.

“My coaching staff would be happy, the other players would be happy and I know Michy himself would be very happy.

“Nobody at the club is anxious to see any of those players (Batshuayi, Zaha or Wan-Bissaka) leave; in fact quite the reverse. That’s why we’ve committed them to long-term contracts.

“Batshuayi is a different case, he’s on loan. That’s not in our hands. I do know he has been happy with us here. It’s been pretty obvious we appreciate him.

“We shouldn’t forget that, yes, there is a top six out there, but with the other teams we’re not light years behind. This year we’ve missed out on ninth by one (win).

“If you want to keep going forward, we have to be equally as good, if not better, to finish anywhere near the top 10 because the league gets better and better every year and more and more money is spent every year.

“Everyone is aware of what we need to do and we just have to wait to see what transpires during the summer months.”

Bournemouth’s eighth defeat from 14 ensured they slid to 14th after being overtaken by Newcastle, and owed much to their poor defending.

Their promising start to the season has been largely undermined by their results since November, and their manager Eddie Howe said: “I’m really disappointed with the first half. Our reaction was disappointing and then we conceded a couple more.

“We didn’t deal very well with (Zaha) at all. We’ve maybe not had a better individual opponent this season. He was very difficult to contain.

“But we have to be critical of our defending; that’s something to focus on next season. We’ve conceded too many goals and it’s hampered our ability to win more.

“The problem for us is expectations, internally. We sometimes have to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. We’ve another season in the Premier League and that’s so important for our future.

“I’m internally disappointed because I want more. That’s just how I am. We’ll go away during pre-season, try and work and come back better.

“Our squad is so light; you could almost put out another team of injured players, but we’ve got through it and managed to pick up enough points to stay in the league.”

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