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Hodgson sees no cause for alarm despite Emirates mauling for Eagles

Move along. Nothing to see here.

Roy Hodgson was in the mood to deflect criticism of the Eagles after Saturday lunchtime's 5-0 drubbing at Arsenal - but the evidence invited more unflattering conclusions about the 76-year-old's ailing side.

They were never at the races and after conceding two soft goals from corners in the first-half, they shipped a third in a counter-attack and two more at the death as their current poor record extended to just the one win in 12.

Supporter dissatisfaction has increased in recent months. From the ill-judged criticism of fans - for which Hodgson apologised - to the withdrawal of Eberechi Eze in the midweek FA Cup defeat at Everton - there has been a seemingly slow drifting apart of manager and fans.

Towards the end of the game at the Emirates, away fans unfurled a large banner decrying what they saw as a lack of progressive decision-making 'taking the club backwards.'

But the former England boss was unfazed by the unrest and seemingly not too concerned about this latest defeat.

"I think the one on Wednesday [protest] was understandable, because they wouldn't have been able to understand why we took Eze off the field. They probably just thought I was making a strange decision but we had our reasons for that," Hodgson said.

"Today, it's a different type of message probably aimed at everybody at the club, it seems. All I can say is they are totally entitled to their opinion. I do understand their frustration, even anger and disappointment that things haven't gone better.

"We can make our excuses, which we've been doing because certain things have worked against us during this period of time, but the bottom line is if we're going to go forward and avoid relegation, we need those fans with us and hopefully we can do our best to keep them on board.

"I believe in the team and the fact is at the moment, we are stretched, to say the least - the attack, when you lose Michael Olise and Jordan Ayew at the same time, is obviously blunted. That will change when those two players come back."

Hodgson continued: "I don't think that in the last games, despite the fact we've not won them, that we've been outplayed that often. We've been in games, even against the Liverpools and the Chelseas and the Brightons and the Arsenals.

"Today we were outplayed, in particular towards the end of the game, but up to that period, the players stuck to their task. I thought they showed that they're still committed and still wanting to do well for the club."

"At 3-0, it wouldn't have been quite so bad, it was those last last two goals that bring about the doom and gloom, because 5-0 is a bad defeat at any level.

"The disappointment was the last two goals and I take responsibility for that because the players were tiring and we needed fresh legs of the young lads, but it was too much to ask of them to go on and deal with a rampant Arsenal and as a result we lose the game heavily."

Hodgson added: "The players have got to stick very much with the work they have been doing on the training field. They've got to make sure they stick together in terms of their attitude.

"I didn't think the attitude during the course of the game was particularly debatable. I didn't see people losing hope or losing faith. We kept going. We were playing against a better team, that was the problem.

"I'm not prepared to allow that last 10-15 minutes to change my opinion about what the players kept trying to do during the bulk of the game."


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