BY ANDREW MCSTEEN
At 7pm this evening Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson signed off from his last-ever media conference and, with it, official duties as a Premier League manager.
The 73-year-old said that he and his assistant Ray Lewington wanted to have as “normal” day as possible as they faced Liverpool at Anfield in a match where two Sadio Mane goals would see the home side secure Champions League football next season.
“It was normal in the sense that we’ve tried to prepare this game as a normal game and Ray and I were anxious that we wouldn’t let ourselves down in anyway,” said Hodgson.
“The ‘big’ moment for Ray and I was on Friday when the players made a presentation [at training]. That was something that will live with us both for as long as we live, I’m sure, because that was out of the ordinary.
“Anything that needed to be said – us to them, them to us – was basically said then. So today, it was team talks, but they were ‘this is what we’ve got to do defensively, this is what we’re going to do when we’ve got the ball, this how we got to defend from set plays, half-time these are the things we might need to change’. That’s what it’s been about today and that’s I think how it will be now.”
The loss saw Palace secure a 14th-place spot on 44 points, equalling the second-highest total in the four seasons Hodgson has been in SE25 and the manager was happy with what he saw his players produce for him in his grand finale.
“We knew that to come up here and get a win that that might be more of a fantasy area than clearly realistic, but we wanted to make certain that we played the type of football that we play, show the character we show, the work rate, the organisation, the discipline, all the things which really we’ve been so proud of having instilled over the last four years. they were there for everyone to see today,” he said.
“Okay, Liverpool, unfortunately, were a bit too good for us and they won the game, but there was certainly no disgrace in our performance whatsoever.”
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