Saturday 15 December 2018

Hodgson braced for dogfight

Bournemouth 2 Crystal Palace 2

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson
Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson

Dean Court

Roy Hodgson remains confident that Crystal Palace will succeed in their battle against relegation despite his frustration at them conceding further points at Bournemouth to another late goal.

They led 2-1 until the 89th minute, when the hosts' substitute Joshua King scored from close range after being left unmarked by Aaron-Wan Bissaka.

Instead of climbing five points clear of the relegation zone with five remaining fixtures, should Southampton overcome Arsenal today they could end the weekend back in the bottom three.

Late goals have also recently cost them points against Tottenham, Manchester United and Liverpool, but 70-year-old Hodgson believes they remain on course to survive.

"If we can continue to play like that for the next five games we have to believe we can take enough points," said the Palace manager, whose team are still to play Brighton, Watford, Leicester, Stoke and West Brom.

"I have confidence in the team and the team showed they have confidence in themselves.

"But it's going to be a dogfight with all the teams down there and basically it can boil down to the fact that you score some lucky goals or survive some really hairy escapes.

"We're disappointed. We've played very well and it's frustrating that we couldn't hold on to the lead twice."

King's goal had followed Wilfried Zaha brilliantly restoring Palace's lead after Lys Mousset - another Bournemouth substitute - had scored with one of his first touches; Luka Milivojevic's second-half free-kick had initially put the visitors in front.

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