Roy Hodgson defends attitude of Crystal Palace players after ‘apathy’ banner

Sonia Twigg, PA

Roy Hodgson accepts Crystal Palace’s recent poor performances have left them open to criticism from fans but denies there is a lack of interest or desire amongst the players.

The Eagles have found themselves under fire after slipping to 14th in the Premier League on the back of successive defeats to Leeds and Burnley, going down 2-0 and 3-0 respectively.

Earlier this week, a banner was put up outside Palace’s training ground demanding change to a ‘pandemic of apathy’ at the club, and to ‘restore the pride, ambition and vision’.

Hodgson admits he expects fans to be critical when things are not going well and readily agrees that Palace need to do better, but he does not believe results are down to the players being apathetic.

He said: “Well I didn’t see it (the banner). I don’t think it was up for very long but I of course heard about it.

“You expect the fans, I guess – when you give a couple of performances like the last two which have been way below what we expect of ourselves – to react and to be critical of the performances.

“I would deny of course that it’s 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 game but that’s a fact of life as well.

“But I would deny that’s because the players were apathetic or they haven’t wanted to do better, because I see on the training field every day how hard people do work, how much they do well.

“But of course when it doesn’t go well I’m afraid that you open yourself up to all sorts of criticism of that nature. It goes very quickly after the results against Wolves and Newcastle, the mood was positive and the criticism was non-existent and actually a lot of praise was coming the players’ way.

“I honestly don’t believe in two weeks and in two performances that everything has changed to that extent but we do need to do better than we’ve done in the last couple of games, there’s no question of that.”

Palace had looked to have got their season back on track recently when they beat Wolves and Newcastle in successive matches, but the loss of Wilfried Zaha to a hamstring injury appears once again to have badly hit Hodgson’s side.

In the last 20 matches that the forward has missed, Palace have suffered 18 defeats.

Zaha is just one of a host of injured players unavailable to Hodgson and the former England boss admits it is a major problem for the Eagles.

He added: “We also do need to get some of our injured players back into the squad again because like all teams we are dependent, and when you’ve got a lot of players on whom you rely on the treatment table and not on the field, it’s not going to be clear that you can cover that.

“We need those players back and in the mean time we must fight on and make sure that we do a better job than we have done in the last two games.”

Hodgson will be hoping his side can repair some of the damage done by recent performances and give supporters something to cheer about when they go to rivals Brighton on Monday night.

The 73-year-old added of the fan criticism: “This is something we have to take seriously.

“When the fans are upset because we’ve not produced the results or the performances they like, that’s also something we have to take very seriously.”

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