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‘Gutsiness’ – Roy Hodgson praises Crystal Palace side despite falling to late Chelsea defeat

Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson believes his side could not have given any more to pick up a result in their late 3-1 defeat at home to Chelsea on Monday night.

The Eagles opened the scoring in the 30th minute when Jefferson Lerma took aim from distance and unleashed a long-ranged effort past Djordje Petrovic. It was his first goal for the South Londoners since joining from Bournemouth on a free transfer in the summer.

Former Palace loanee Conor Gallagher equalised for the Blues straight after the half-time break when he met Malo Gusto’s cross inside the area to volley beyond Dean Henderson.

Gallagher grabbed his second in the 90th minute when he met Cole Palmer’s cross on the edge of the box and fired a first-time effort beyond Henderson.

Enzo Fernandez wrapped up all three points in added time when he received a pass from Palmer inside the area, chopped back past Daniel Munoz and fired into the back of the net. 

“The late goal was the killer – the second one,” said Hodgson.

“We had two minutes to try and get back into the game. As one does in those moments, we had a free-kick deep and you load up the penalty area and hope desperately that it will fall your way.

“From my experience these days, it’s a 50-50 job. It might do that but it could equally cost you a third goal.

“That third goal aggravated the scoreline and made things look worse. 

“The problem was the second goal that effectively won them a game.

“I don’t know if I could have asked a lot more from the team that took to the field today than they gave.

“I don’t know what I could look at and say: ‘Well, that’s still in the tank,’ because what we have in the tank at the moment is injured and unable to take to the field.

“What those boys did tonight – the way they went about the game, their determination, their heart and spirit – the gutsiness really against a team of really talented individual players, I don’t think they could do much more for us.

“We’re going to have to ask them to reproduce those performances in the next two games.”

Eberechi Eze, Michael Olise and Marc Guehi were all missing from the starting line-up through injury.

Hodgson said: “We still don’t know when Eze, Olise and Guehi will be back. So we might be battling through like we have done tonight for a few more games, before we can look at a team which will threaten the opposition a bit more than we have done today.”

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