BY ANDREW McSTEEN
Last week Roy Hodgson told the South London Press that with Premier League games returning behind-closed-doors, without fans, it would be up to players to ‘self-motivate’ themselves when they finally returned to action.
And the Croydon-born 72-year-old would have been happy with the performance of his squad on Saturday as they easily beat Bournemouth 2-0 away. Chairman Steve Parish hailed the players as “exemplary” during the COVID-19 pause in top-flight action.
“I’ve seen only what I expect,” said Hodgson. “I only mentioned the self-motivation, not because I didn’t think they would be able to motivate, I was just making the point that in empty stadia we don’t have the help that you sometimes get from the crowd.
“The crowd can be pushing you on, inspiring you, or even irritating you into giving a better performance because they are booing you. You’re without that, so you’ve got to suddenly use your mental agility to get what you would get from the crowd by some way finding it within yourself.
“That was the point I was making (last week), it wasn’t a question of being concerned we wouldn’t be motivated, it was more of a question of letting the players know that the task would be a little bit harder without crowds because no-one is there to really pull you along.”
Right at the beginning of the national lockdown, Parish and the club charity, the Palace for Life Foundation, led their respective fields. The chairman announced in mid-March that no staff would be furloughed, while the foundation have worked tirelessly in the local community.
And Parish has been widely-praised with his work on getting the league restarted.
“The club’s been exemplary,” said Hodgson. “The way that Steve Parish has taken his leadership responsibilities for the club, and also to take on a lot of responsibility for the Premier League, has been exemplary.
“We were the first club to make it clear that we were going to continue paying all of our staff during the lockdown and that we wouldn’t even consider taking any money from the government. We were the first, one of the first, to make it clear that we were not looking to defer wages or cut wages.
“We intend to fulfil our responsibility and fulfil our obligations to the players, and we expect them, of course, to fulfil their obligations to us, so it’s been a very harmonious situation where the club has done all the right things and the players, being respectful and grateful for the club having done so in a way, are doing their bit as well.
“The players had to make certain that they found it (self-motivation) within themselves all the time, and the club has helped in that respect, having been so correct in everything they have done during this lockdown period.”
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