Palace boss Roy Hodgson keen to keep pressure off summer signing Eberechi Eze
Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson is determined not to put any extra pressure on Eberechi Eze and hopes the young midfielder can take things in his stride.
The 22-year-old joined the Eagles from QPR during the summer in a deal which could eventually be worth some £20million.
Eze started the last two matches before the international break and is expected to feature again when Palace host rivals Brighton on Sunday.
Brighton manager Graham Potter feels Eze has provided “another dimension” to Hodgson’s side, which already boasts the forward-thinking Wilfried Zaha and Jordan Ayew.
Former England boss Hodgson, though, will not look to add more hype to any of his players.
“If you are a football player and have got any belief in yourself and confidence in yourself, I guess you want that type of expectation,” the Palace manager said.
“You want people to be saying that type of thing about you, and an opponent fearing what you can come up with, but at the same time, it doesn’t make a lot of difference as far as we are concerned.
“I have got a squad of players here, and my job is to pick what I think is the best team in that squad.
“I am expecting every time I pick a team that whoever I have chosen goes out there and does what I believe him capable of doing.”
Hodgson added: “Eze is fortunate if you like that he’s at the start of his career and it has gone very, very well for him in the beginning.
“We have signed him because we think it is going to continue to go well for him, and we believe in him as a player.”
Brighton have also lost their last two Premier League matches – beaten by Everton 4-2 having previously seen Manchester United snatch a dramatic 3-2 win deep into stoppage time at the Amex Stadium.
Hodgson, though, is not expecting anything other than a stern test on Sunday afternoon.
“I have a very high opinion of Brighton and the job Graham Potter has done,” the Palace manager said. “I think they’re a very good team.
“I have seen them lose a couple of games in recent months that actually they have been very good and fully deserved to win, but come out on the losing side.”
Brighton have shipped 10 goals already this season, conceding at least three in each of their defeats.
“We are preparing for a very, very good Brighton team – and I don’t myself identify an incredible defensive weakness,” Hodgson said.
“We think they are good both going forward and defending, but if they are kind enough to have got it in their heads that they think they have got to concede three goals every game, then I will certainly take it.”