BY SAM SMITH
Roy Hodgson has said that his Crystal Palace side did not make life difficult for Chelsea in their 4-1 defeat, particularly during a first half-hour when the Blues raced into a 3-0 lead.
Kai Havertz, Christian Pulisic and Kurt Zouma struck in the first half. Christian Benteke’s attempt at restoring some pride with a goal just after the hour was dashed by a second Pulisic strike.
Hodgson was unhappy with the way Palace allowed Chelsea to gain a three-goal advantage so early in the game.
The Palace boss reflected: “It was a chastening experience. I think we did our best to bring that about because the way we approached that first half hour in terms of the way we were playing, our inability to get close enough to our opponents, to defend well enough in and around our own box, the chances we were taking [in possession], losing the ball very close to our own box, giving them the opportunity to profit from their very good pressurising.
“Of course, the quality of players that they have, when you are 3-0 down at half-time, which we were deservedly, you are definitely staring down the barrel of a gun. Fortunately we didn’t capitulate. Fortunately, we didn’t lose heavier than by four goals to one. But it was a very bad defeat, albeit against a very good team.
“But it’s our job to play against very good teams and to make life as difficult as we possibly can, and I don’t think we did that today.”
Hodgson named an unchanged team from the one that played so well in the 1-1 draw against Everton on Monday.
Ebere Eze and Jairo Riedewald both struggled to make an impact and were withdrawn shortly into the second half. Hodgson seemed to suggest that he would change his line-up if given the opportunity to approach the game differently.
He said: “Nothing [I would change] that I would particularly want to discuss publicly. It would obviously be to do with team selection because you make a team selection in good faith, and it doesn’t always work out for you.
“I don’t think what cost us the game the team was something that we as the management and coaching staff had requested from the players. It was something that came about perhaps, you could argue, because Chelsea were so good in that period of time.
“They caused us so many problems. But I don’t think I have an answer to your question which would be a simple one – ‘if only we’d done this or we’d done that’.
“I think we could have done quite a lot of things to make life easier for ourselves and made life a bit more difficult for them, and wouldn’t have played quite as much into their hands as the way we did play into their hands, at least, during large periods of the first half.
“The second half was perhaps a lot more like what we were wanting and expecting. But it’s a bit late to bring about when you’re losing 3-0 because you’ve already lost the game.”
Please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing recently: “A free country needs a free press, and the newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure”.
So if you have enjoyed reading this story, and if you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can buy our newspaper or make a donation, which will allow us to continue to bring stories like this one to you both in print and online.