Roy Hodgson upbeat about Palace’s survival chances despite losing start

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Roy Hodgson has an “awful lot” to do at Crystal Palace but the newly-appointed manager is confident things will turn around.

The Eagles’ start to the Premier League campaign could scarcely have been worse, having failed to muster a single goal on their way to five straight defeats.

No top-flight side has ever managed that before in English football and Palace are the first team to fail to score in any of their first five Premier League games.

Frank de Boer was culpable for the first four of those losses, with Hodgson overseeing Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat to Southampton as life in the Selhurst Park hotseat got off to a difficult start.

Asked if this is one of the toughest job tasks he has faced, Hodgson said: “At the moment no, because I feel very good about being here and that the players are very much in support and will be in support, the chairman and the board are in support and we all want the same thing.

“We all realise that we have to do an awful lot to get that thing that we want. So, of course, it is a challenge and it is tough, but what isn’t?

“There are no dream jobs where you walk in, put your tracksuit on, and suddenly it materialises and goes well.

“You have to work for these things. I’m happy that I’ve got the chance to work for these things, I accept it will be tough from time to time or more.

“And I look forward to the day we see signs of improvement and start to pick up points as I believe that is what we are going to do. I have faith.”

It is not the first time Hodgson has faced such a job – a manager who oversaw one of the greatest escapes in Premier League history with Fulham in 2007-08.

The 70-year-old has far more time to turn things around in south London, although there promises to be little let up in their tough start.

Tuesday’s Carabao Cup clash with Huddersfield is followed by back-to-back Premier League trips to Manchester City and Manchester United, before Chelsea arrive at Selhurst Park.

“What as a manager or a coach can you do about that? I can’t change those fixtures, we have those fixtures to play,” Hodgson said.

“I can’t score goals in those previous five games or change the points. All I can do is to try and encourage the players to be as mentally strong as they can possibly be.

“Sometimes strange things happen. Sometimes the fact no one expects you to win and get thoroughly outplayed you might give a better performance than you think you can give. I don’t know.

“All I can say is that I’m very aware being here that words come easy and words come cheap.

“The work at Crystal Palace football club is on that field of play in both training and matches and it is going to be up to the players as well as the coaches to take that responsibility and accept this is a bad moment for the club.

“But no amount of talking on my part can change that, it has to be done on the field of play.”

Saints had been looking at Hodgson’s predecessor De Boer before plumping for Manuel Pellegrino – a man that Palace had also been targeting in the summer.

Saturday’s 1-0 win was a timely shot in the arm for the former Argentina defender, who hopes the win in south London can act as a catalyst for improvements.

“It was an important game for us,” Pellegrino said. “To win on this pitch is not easy.

“Obviously everybody is happy, we are really happy, about the result, but also how we achieved the game from the beginning.

“The team was really focused and in second ball. It is not just (Christian) Benteke but the people that is around him and in front of him, because Palace have a group of players with quality.

“We controlled the ball and it is something we need to improve. We have a group of players with the quality and the capacity to keep the ball and I think we did well.

“This is important news for us, the performance of the team.”

Source: PA

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