Saturday 25 November 2017

Hodgson predicts more pain

Crystal Palace 0 Southampton 1

Roy Hodgson looks on after his first game in charge of Crystal Palace ended in defeat. Photo: Getty Images
Roy Hodgson looks on after his first game in charge of Crystal Palace ended in defeat. Photo: Getty Images

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Roy Hodgson predicted more "painful" moments ahead for Crystal Palace after his first match in charge ended in an historic defeat.

The former England manager was unable to make an instant impact after replacing the sacked Frank de Boer this week, as Steven Davis's early strike condemned the Eagles to a fifth straight league defeat without scoring - an unprecedented run in English top-flight football. Nor has any team gone so long since the start of a Premier League season without a goal.

It was a bad start for Croydon-born Hodgson, and with league games against Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea coming next, there is no obvious prospect of things improving in the near future.

"The major disappointment is that the attitude and the desire of the players that was obvious to us even in the two or three days we've been training didn't get any kind of reward," the Palace boss said.

"It wasn't even really that evident in terms of the quality of football that we were playing.

"So, now, it's five defeats, it's zero points, it is a really tough programme ahead if you look at the quality of the opponents.

"It is painful today and I fear it is going to be painful in some of the moments going forward. We've got to try very hard to make certain that people don't dig themselves into a grave.

"The statistics dig us into a grave, but only what we do on the football field can get us out of it or make the situation worse."

Palace return to action at home to Huddersfield in the League Cup on Tuesday - a chance to get a morale-boosting win before that daunting run of Premier League fixtures.

"I am really pleased to be back," added Hodgson, whose last match as manager was England's Euro 2016 exit to Iceland.

"Like every football match, afterwards if you've won it you're bouncing a little bit, and when you lose it you're on something of a low. "

For Saints, the win was a shot in the arm after a stuttering start to the campaign. Mario Lemina shone in midfield during an impressive all-round display by Mauricio Pellegrino's side, who brought on Virgil van Dijk as a late substitute, the defender having failed to get the summer exit he sought.

"We have to accept that everybody can express on the pitch," said Southampton boss Pellegrino after the defender's first appearance since January.

"Around the player there is a lot of interest. Now we have to leave aside the situation and now everything is normal."

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