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Crystal Palace boss prepared for new venue if Leicester lockdown affects Premier League fixture

BY SAM SMITH AND ANDREW McSTEEN

Crystal Palace will be prepared to play their next Premier League fixture anywhere in the country following stricter lockdown restrictions placed on Leicester, according to boss Roy Hodgson.

The Eagles are due to travel to face the Foxes on Saturday but a rise in coronavirus cases in the city has led the UK government to impose tighter measures. Health secretary Matt Hancock told the House of Commons on Monday that Leicester has accounted for 10 per cent of all positive cases in the UK over the past week.

It could mean the game is moved to a neutral venue, but Hodgson is happy to let the Premier League decide on an outcome.

The 72-year-old said: “I didn’t know about it [Leicester’s lockdown], although I did hear today that there was a potential problem in Leicester, but I’m perfectly happy to let the Premier League take care of that.

“I’m certain they’ll tell us where and when the game should be played and I’m certain that if they can’t play at Leicester, they’ll find an alternative venue and we’re happy to go up and play against Leicester City wherever the Premier League tell us we should play.”

Hodgson was speaking following the Eagles’ 1-0 defeat against Burnley. Ben Mee scored the only goal of the game midway through the second half.

The former England boss agreed that his side did not spring into life until late in the second half, but they could not find an equaliser.

“We didn’t get going as we would have liked to have got going in the first half, that’s for sure. In terms of leaving it until the second half, I suppose you could call it leaving it late. Throughout the second half we were pretty much in control of the play. [We] had a lot of possession, were passing the ball much better.

“But, of course, we went a goal down, and when you go a goal down against a team like Burnley – who played very well in the first half – it was always going to be a tough ask because you know how well they get behind the ball, how good they are defending their penalty area.

“I can’t fault the effort of the players in attempting to get back and score that goal because we certainly had opportunities and certainly had situations in and around their penalty area which could have so easily led to a goal, but congratulations to Burnley, they held out and protected the 1-0 lead.”

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