Palace chief Hodgson: Luka free-kick might have changed complexion of West Ham match

BY MATT WOOSNAM

Roy Hodgson was satisfied with his Crystal Palace side’s second-half performance against West Ham, but expressed his frustration at conceding three times as they fell to defeat in east London.

Palace took an early lead through James McArthur, before Luka Milivojevic was unfortunate not to double their advantage just before half-time when he thumped a free-kick against the crossbar.

But three goals from the Hammers turned the game on its head as the Eagles capitulated. First, Robert Snodgrass curled a fine effort beyond Wayne Hennessey after some suspect defending, then Javier Hernandez followed up Felipe Anderson’s free-kick to smash home from close range.

Anderson got in on the act with a sumptuous strike from the edge of the box which he curled into the far corner. Jeffrey Schlupp got one back but it was too late and the hosts held on.

“I never know how to sum up games,” said Hodgson. “At half-time, we were quite fortunate to be in the lead. I don’t think that we played anywhere near as good football as we’re capable of playing. But we scored a goal and we had something to cling on to. I don’t think we were under the cosh as such, but I don’t think we did anything good enough to merit the lead.

“In the second half we played better, if truth be known, but unfortunately we conceded three goals. As a result, we’re chasing 3-1 away from home against a team of West Ham’s quality. It’s not going to be easy. We did pull one back but we only gave ourselves 10 minutes to get a third one and we weren’t capable of doing that.

“In terms of the way the team played, it was often better in that period in the second half. The game became a little bit open, we certainly had our moments in attack, they had theirs. Matches are won by goals and they got three and we could only get two.

”We did concede three goals. Each goal you concede is a story by itself and certainly one of the goals could be contested for the free-kick.”

The Eagles boss questioned whether the outcome of the match would have been different had Milivojevic’s free-kick been a few inches lower and doubled the lead going into the break.

He said: “It’s a big ‘if’. We played our best football and had the best control of the game at 2-1 but it didn’t stop the third goal of course. It was obviously a very fine strike. He’s done that before, we know it’s in his locker but he proved once again that it’s something he can repeat so that was tough for us to accept.

”We approach each game in the same way, we do all the things we need to work on. We need to make certain that the players understand from our analysis of the opposition that they’re going to do all the things we’ve done during the week’s training to make certain we are capable of dealing with the opposition’s threats and playing the sort of football which can cause them some threats. We do that every week.”


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