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Roy Hodgson admits that Crystal Palace’s EFL Cup exit is a missed opportunity – especially as Burton Albion would have been next hurdle to semi-final spot

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson was satisfied with his team’s performance despite a limp EFL Cup defeat by Middlesbrough.

Hodgson made eight changes to the starting 11 which held Arsenal to a 2-2 draw on Sunday, and despite the Eagles only having three attempts on goal that were on target, he felt that his rotated squad did well.

“Football today is a competition where you have a squad of players. We’ve had a fairly stable 11 this season and there were a lot of players there tonight who needed a game and they didn’t let me down in any shape or form. Furthermore, of the players we left at home, three of those were injured.

“There were only four or five at home who possibly could have come – one of those being the keeper – so we pretty much used the players that we had at our disposal. The three players we actually spared are very important to us in other ways.”

The opening 45 minutes were dominated by Boro, who generally relied on effective counter-attacking true to form for Tony Pulis, but there were some signs of recovery in the second half which pleased the Eagles boss.

“A lot of our possession in the first half was not threatening possession, whereas in the second half I thought we had lot of possession, a lot of play in the opponent’s half and the final third of the field and I think we looked a lot more dangerous in that period of time.”

“In the whole of the second half we certainly got going and played some good football, but our first half performance wasn’t as good as it perhaps could or should have been.”

The next round of the cup sees Boro host Burton Albion at home and Hodgson conceded that the favourable draw would have given his side a golden opportunity to progress into the semi-finals

“Of course it’s a missed opportunity, if that is the case then even more so. The fact is it was a tight game, we always knew it would be a tight game. We didn’t think it would be a game with a lot of goals in it. We conceded one in the first half and that was rather unfortunate.

“[In] the previous two rounds, we’d done extremely well and won and tonight we missed an opportunity by not being able to win this game.”

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