BY SAM SMITH
Roy Hodgson has denied that Crystal Palace’s poor form is due to apathy among his squad after a banner urging the club to “change this mentality” was placed outside the training ground.
The message was placed outside the Copers Cope Road base on Tuesday. It read: ‘Palace pandemic of apathy. Change this mentality. Restore the pride, ambition and vision’.
Palace have lost four of their last six Premier League matches. Manager Hodgson believes criticism is fair, but does not think the form is due to a lack of care by the players.
He said: “I didn’t see [the banner]. I don’t think it was up for very long, but I’ve heard about it. You expect the fans when we have given performances like the last two, which were way below what we expect of ourselves, to react and to be critical of the performances.
“I would deny that it is a lack of interest or desire on the part of the players. We can’t deny that we haven’t played well enough to get the results in the games and that is a fact of life as well. But I would deny that it is because the players are apathetic or that they haven’t wanted to do better, because I see every day on the training field how hard people do work and how much they do want to do well.
“Of course, when it doesn’t go well then I’m afraid you open yourselves up to all sorts of criticism of that nature. It goes very quickly after the results against Wolves and Newcastle (1-0 and 2-1 wins, respectively), the mood was very good and the criticisms were non-existent. In fact, a lot of praise was coming the players’ way.
“I honestly don’t believe that in two weeks and in two performances, everything has changed to that extent but we do need to do better than what we have been doing in the last couple of games. There is no question of that.
“We also do need to get some of our injured players back into the squad again because, like all teams, we are dependent upon our players. And when there are a lot of players of whom you rely upon on the treatment table and not on the field, it is not going to be clear that you can cover that. We need those players back.
“In the meantime, we must fight on and make sure we have done a better job that we have done in our last two games.”
The banner was supposedly placed by the supporters’ group the Holmesdale Fanatics and accompanied a statement by the group posted on their @ultrascpfc Twitter page.
Hodgson continued: “It (the banner) is not something that I would encourage, our fans have been very, very good through the years and they support us very well. For them to do something like this is not something that one can claim to be happy about.
“I believe that we have the knowhow in the club to turn the situation around. We are not in a desperate situation in the league, which is something positive. In the meantime, we must accept that the fans have got a right to their opinion, they have got a right to feel upset that the team they love is not doing as well as they would like it to do.
“We accept, as football people, that the criticism will come our way, so that is one of the things you sign up for. If you decide to take on the job as manager of a club that has a big following, you expect that you will get some praise when it goes well but you must accept the criticism when it doesn’t.”
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