BY ANDREW MCSTEEN
Roy Hodgson has defended his Crystal Palace players after they lost 2-0 against Newcastle United – five days after also being defeated by fellow strugglers Burnley.
Goals by Callum Wilson and Joelinton condemned the South Londoners to a second defeat this week. The Eagles registered only three strikes on target at Selhurst Park.
“We believe very strongly in the players, we see them every day in training and we believe that there is a lot of quality in our team,” Hodgson said after the game
“In the last two games, over the 180 minutes, we haven’t produced that quality often enough. We haven’t asked enough questions about our two opponents, both of whom who are in the same ballpark in the league as we are.
“It would be hard enough if the two defeats had come against the top two teams, but to lose six points in that way against these two teams – two teams that we know are going to be fighting with us to make certain that their league status is secured at the end of the season, makes it a little bit harder to take.”
By the end of the match, Hodgson only had defenders left on the bench as the Belgian strike duo of Michy Batshuayi and Christian Benteke joined Jairo Riedewald in coming onto the pitch in search of the goals to take the points that their near-60 per cent possession demanded.
But it was not to be as Newcastle scored twice in the last two minutes.
Hodgson continued: “Am I frustrated with the players? Not really, in the sense that I don’t doubt for one minute that they’re all doing their very best. I don’t think there was any lack of effort on our part.
“If anything, you could argue, putting so many attacking players on the field could have been a part of us conceding the 88th minute goal which actually cost us the game. I think we were right to go for it; we were right to put the extra attackers on and try to win the game because in the second half we were looking like the side most likely to score the goal.”
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