BY SAM SMITH
Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson has admitted that it is becoming harder for mid-table Premier League teams to compete with Manchester City.
Two goals in as many second half minutes condemned the South Londoners to a 2-0 defeat against the Champions-elect at Selhurst Park on Saturday.
Palace have beaten City just one during Hodgson’s three-and-a-half years in charge. An Andros Townsend stunner was among the goals in a shock 3-2 away win in December 2018.
And the 73-year-old believes games against sides such as the Champions League semi-finalists will only become tougher for teams of Palace’s ilk.
Hodgson was asked if it was unfair that the Eagles are in the same division as Saturday’s visitors.
“No, I don’t think it’s unfair. I must congratulate Manchester City on putting such a fantastic squad of players together, and also in keeping them all on board in the way Pep has done,” the former England head coach said.
“It’s not easy to deal with 20-25 players, all of whom – as they have shown against us – are more than capable of playing in the Premiership and doing a very, very, good job in the Premiership.
“It’s tough, and it doesn’t get any easier, for the teams who aren’t in their category to compete with them, that’s for sure, because unfortunately they don’t have weaknesses.
“There was a time in the past when some of the better teams with very talented players… you could maybe get something against them because you worked harder, or you were more aggressive, or you were more physical, or you ran and fought more than they did.
“Unfortunately, the top teams of today don’t even give you that opportunity. Not only are they better in other areas, but they’re just as good as you – if not better – in the areas I’ve just been speaking of.
“It’s unfair, if you like, for those of us who aren’t in their category facing up to the prospect of trying to deal with them, like we did. I thought we did quite well, also in dealing with it for 60 minutes.
“But you know somewhere along the line that there is a risk… I think it was Mendy who drove the ball into a great area and Aguero’s touch and finish – that’s going to land on your doorstep, and it’s going to be very, very hard for you to deal with it.”
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