Roy Hodgson won’t blame empty stands for Crystal Palace’s recent setbacks

Sonia Twigg, PA

Roy Hodgson insisted the lack of fans is not to blame for Crystal Palace’s recent downturn in performances.

The Eagles have slipped to 14th in the Premier League following defeats to Leeds and Burnley, going down 2-0 and 3-0 respectively.

Palace had appeared to have regained their early-season form when they beat Wolves and Newcastle in successive matches, but the recent loss of Wilfried Zaha to a hamstring problem appears to have affected the squad.

In the previous 20 matches the Eagles have taken the field without the forward, they have suffered 18 defeats, however Hodgson was keen to avoid blaming the lack of fans for his side’s recent disappointing performances.

“One of the biggest factors to make some of the players feel motivated and concentrated and really focused on their job is to have that competition and of course when you’re down with injuries that tends to diminish, to some extent.

“But I think that to blame, if you the like, the fact that there aren’t fans at the stadium, the fact that there aren’t people to give you that boost sometimes when you need it is wrong if you’re being asked questions because your team hasn’t done well – because everyone’s in that situation.

“It doesn’t seem to be affecting Man City at this moment in time, they seem to be winning every game they play and they’re winning it in a very good fashion, so why shouldn’t Crystal Palace?

“I don’t believe in that. It would have been nice for sure to have fans and we’ve missed them – there’s no question of it – but we’ve had to come to terms with that and certainly try and not look at that as an excuse for the last couple of performances.

“It’s just unfortunately we’ve not been good enough on the field of play, we’ve conceded early goals.”

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