Sport Soccer

Thursday 18 October 2018

Roy Hodgson wants Palace to embark on another unbeaten run

The Eagles moved out of the bottom three after beating Huddersfield 2-0 at the John Smith’s Stadium.

Roy Hodgson's side appear to have put their injury woes behind them
Roy Hodgson's side appear to have put their injury woes behind them

By Mark Walker, Press Association Sport

Roy Hodgson has targeted another long unbeaten run after Crystal Palace’s 2-0 win at relegation rivals Huddersfield kick-started their survival bid.

Palace climbed back out of the bottom three after four straight defeats thanks to James Tomkins’ early close-range finish and Luka Milivojevic’s second-half penalty.

“The most important thing for us today was to come away from Huddersfield with a result, ideally a win, but certainly not a defeat, to make certain we could keep our hopes of staying in the division alive,” said Hodgson, whose side moved two points clear of the relegation zone and up to 16th place.

“Had we not done that, the gap to teams like Huddersfield gets greater and it’s difficult enough – we know how difficult it is, we had to make up eight points to get out of the relegation zone the first time.

“We had to win a lot of games and win a lot of points. We went on an unbeaten run of about 12 or 13 games to do that, so we know how tough it is.

“We were determined today to take every opportunity that came our way to try and win this game and the longer the game went on the more composed we looked.

“We were asking more questions, but that’s normal when you get that second goal. The second goal was important.”

Palace had struggled in recent weeks due to injuries to key players, but Wilfried Zaha, Mamadou Sakho, Yohan Cabaye and Ruben Loftus-Cheek all returned to the squad at the John Smith’s Stadium.

Talisman Zaha and defender Sakho both started and their presence galvanised the Eagles, who took the game to a strangely subdued Huddersfield.

Tomkins stabbed the ball home following a corner midway through the first half and Milivojevic slammed home from the spot in the 68th minute after Mathias Jorgensen had brought down Andros Townsend.

David Wagner acknowledged his side were off the pace. Too many misplaced passes put them under pressure and left their high-pressing game out of sync.

“If you give the ball away too easily the distances between you and your team-mates are too big and then you’re never able to win the ball back after you’ve lost it,” said the German.

“We were always a yard or two too late and never able to come into the battles and the challenges.

“Crystal Palace have top-class players and they were able to use this two or three yards, which is all they need to be a threat.

“This is what they have done and they were a threat and they deserved this result, even if they scored from two set-plays. They had enough other opportunities to win this game.”

Press Association

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