Roy Hodgson wanted to hand Jean-Philippe Mateta an opportunity to prove his worth against Manchester City, hence why striker Christian Benteke was withdrawn after 68 minutes of Saturday’s game.
Benteke missed an excellent first-half chance when a loose ball fell his way in the penalty area. Goalkeeper Ederson made an excellent save from the Belgian’s prodded close-range effort.
Fellow striker Mateta has been starved of minutes since his 18-month loan move from Mainz in January.
The Frenchman has made just six appearances out of a possible 14. Only two of those were starts, including the 2-1 win at rivals Brighton in which he scored the opening goal.
But Mateta replaced Benteke with City leading 2-0, though the 23-year-old failed to make an impact.
“I thought he (Benteke) was good. Had they not scored those two goals in quick succession, there would have been no reason to take him off and to give someone else a go,” Hodgson said.
“The only reason we took him off is not because we weren’t happy with his performance, quite the reverse, but it was a question of [being] 2-0 down, we didn’t show signs of coming back to score two goals to get back into the game.
“It was a question of giving Mateta a chance to show what he could do, if you like, for 20-odd minutes.
“But it was nothing to do with Christian’s performance, which we actually thought was quite good.”
Please support your local paper by making a donation
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.