Hodgson puts on a brave face after Eagles defeat to in-form Leicester City
Disappointed Roy Hodgson insisted that Crystal Palace were simply out of luck as the Eagles suffered a 2-0 defeat at the hands of enterprising Leicester City at Selhurst Park.
Second half goals by man-of-the-match Caglar Soyuncu and Jamie Vardy provided strong evidence that the foraging Foxes have what it takes to extract results capable, even at this early stage, of sustaining a title challenge.
Unfortunately for Palace it was one of those days where they lacked spark and were found wanting in terms of creating good opportunities. All of which, admittedly, reflected as much about the quality of their opponents as it did for the south Londoners themselves.
It was, at times, a feisty affair as Palace struggled to cope with an ultra-organised and effective Leicester outfit. And within those sporadic moments when the hosts flickered, their lack of cutting edge left matters open for the Foxes to take advantage in their customary clinical fashion that sees them move intriguingly up the Premier League table.
"I thought it was a relatively even game,” said Eagles chief Hodgson. “I don’t think I could have asked a lot more from the Palace team than they gave out there today.
"I thought our defensive organisation was good and we restricted them to a minimum of chances. Our defending from the set plays and free kicks had been good but unfortunately one proved too much for us. We weren’t out of the game even at 1-0. I never had the feeling we were out of this game.”
The Eagles boss admitted that the late strike from England forward Vardy – a wonderful culmination to a precise exchange with Demarai Gray – extinguished any hope of a recovery.
"At 2-0 so close to the end, I’m afraid that was a bridge too far and we had to accept then that we weren’t going to get back in it,” added Hodgson. “It was important I felt not to concede more goals because we’d opened up our midfield and gone to a 4-4-2 at 0-1 in an attempt to bring it back to 1-1.
"That was making it a lot easier for them [Leicester] in that very good midfield area where they have so many talented players. I would have been disappointed if we conceded more goals."
Hodgson put on a brave face in the post-match media briefing in view of not only the defeat but also witnessing team-mates Gary Cahill and Cheikhou Kouyate colliding heads midway through the second-half. The unfortunate incident in a sense represented the jaded fortunes against Brendan Rodgers’ side, who now sit in third place just two points behind Manchester City. Palace, who face a big task at in-form Chelsea next Saturday, remain ninth.