Crystal Palace boss reveals key thing that will boost Europa League hopes

Roy Hodgson reckons Crystal Palace’s Europa League prospects will be greatly diminished if they haven’t got their full quota of attacking players to choose from.

The Eagles have suffered back-to-back Premier League losses and have missed injured centre-forward Christian Benteke – not netting in the 4-0 loss at Liverpool and Monday’s 1-0 home reverse to Burnley.

Asked about Palace qualifying for Europe, manager Hodgson said: “We’ll see, basically it depends a lot on our personnel.

“We need goals. We don’t have an awful lot of front players to choose from and if they get injured it’s going to become even more difficult for us, but we’re certainly not giving anything up.

“A lot’s going to happen in-between now and the end of the season. Teams will lose matches that they expect to win, and win matches that they don’t expect to win. That’s going to happen because the matches are coming very thick and fast.

“These days we don’t have a lot of time to prepare or to get over defeat or victory and get players ready for the next game.

“There’ll be strange results along the way, but Monday night was a great opportunity for us to win a game and maybe lift ourselves into a more challenging position – but we weren’t good enough to take the opportunity.

“We always realise that to have a chance we need to keep our three forwards fit and then have Andros [Townsend] up our sleeve as a fourth forward.

“We lost Christian Benteke and he wasn’t fit for Monday’s game. As a result, Andros has come in on the right side and Jordan [Ayew] is playing in a position where he is slightly less effective than when he plays in the wider positions.

“Burnley came here without a lot of their forward players, this is part and parcel of playing these games in this compromised period after the coronavirus in an attempt to get the matches played. Every team could point to something disadvantageous which has affected them as a result of it.

“At the moment I don’t have a clear idea whether he [Benteke] will be fit or not [for the Leicester fixture on Saturday].”

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