Roy Hodgson: No special message to Crystal Palace’s players ahead of Premier League opener

BY ANDREW MCSTEEN

Roy Hodgson has revealed there was no special squad meeting or message to the players ahead of the new Premier League season starting today.

The former Fulham and England boss took over in SE25 three years ago today and has guided the Eagles to consecutive top-flight finishes of 11th, 12th and 14th, but has failed to crack the top 10 so far.

An awful run at the end of last season saw all hope of a finish in the top half evaporate with seven losses in their last eight matches.

Palace restart at home to Southampton this afternoon.

“We don’t get the players together and say: ‘Right, this is a new season, this is what’s going to happen, and this is where we’re going to go’,” said Croydon-born Hodgson.

“There’s not anything specifically [we did] but, of course, we have an awful lot of meetings with the players [throughout the season] and we do a lot of work in the training sessions with the players as well – there’s plenty of talking that goes on and plenty of information that we put out there.”

As he enters his fourth season in SE25, Hodgson was keen to highlight the work done on the training ground as a team together as his target, rather than discuss directly the goal of a top-10 finish this time around.

“If I say: ‘I would like to see the team in the top 10, that goes for everybody – the owners, the fans and  the players, but really, it’s teaching your grandmother to suck eggs with those statements,” he said to the South London Press.

“We just work continually on the fact that we going to improve our play; we’ve got to get better and better and we’ve got to get stronger and stronger.

“Any mistakes or any flaws in our play have got to be ironed out. Any strengths that we’ve got have got to be maintained and puffed up if possible.

“We work on it that way and stick to things which are more concrete – this is what needs to be done if we’re going to maximise our potential as a team and become a winning team. And that’s done on a daily basis.”

PICTURE BY KEITH GILLARD


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