Thursday, March 21, 2019

Hodgson eyeing Premier League top 10 rather than relegation scrap

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 9 Feb 2019

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Roy Hodgson felt Crystal Palace deserved more than a 1-1 draw against West Ham and has his sights on the Premier League’s top 10 rather than a relegation scrap.

Wilfried Zaha scored a late, deflected equaliser on his return from suspension at Selhurst Park, cancelling out Mark Noble’s first-half penalty for the visitors.

Palace racked up 25 attempts on goal to West Ham’s six, with 17 of those efforts coming in a second period they dominated.

But despite Palace’s lack of a finishing touch and the fact they only sit three points clear of the drop zone, Hodgson is looking up the table.

“There are a lot of games still to play and if we continue to play as we have been doing, I can’t see us having enormous difficulties,” Palace boss Hodgson said at his post-match media conference.

“I continue to hope that these performances will lead us into the top half of the table.”

Asked if he does not consider Palace to be part of the relegation battle, Hodgson said: “What exactly do you mean? How many points above the relegation zone do you have to be not to be involved in a relegation battle?

“My perception is that I’ve got a very good football team. They’ve shown it time and time again this season. They showed it against a team that should have beaten Liverpool on Monday night and certainly we should have beaten them.

“So I think personally that I’m entitled to believe in this team and to be less concerned about teams below them than the teams above and catching those teams up. So many points we gave away previously were not through bad performances.

“I suppose I am differentiating between performances and points because we don’t have as many points as our performances perhaps deserve. You will have to allow me to either look upwards rather than downwards as that’s my prerogative.

“I am frustrated as it was such a good performance, the first half was an even game, but in the second half it was pretty much one-way traffic. We found Lukasz Fabianski in very good form.

“Our aim is to still get higher and we must not get too caught up in the relegation battle. We know we are good enough to stay out of it.”

Even though West Ham are now without a win in five matches across all competitions, manager Manuel Pellegrini was happy enough with the result.

“I’m happy with the first 45 minutes when we had a brilliant performance and not too happy with the second 45,” he said.

“They scored a very lucky goal because it was a deflection, but they dominated the game in the second 45 minutes. It was a good game and that was the fair result. We have a lot of players missing and we were playing away, I think it’s a good point.”

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