Ahead of this weekend’s game at home to Stoke City, Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson has been speaking to the press, giving the impression that he and his players are all set to put in another big shift against the Potters.
Whilst our performances have definitely improved under the 70-year-old’s stewardship, a return of five points in five games isn’t something that Roy deems acceptable, which certainly bodes well for the upcoming weeks. There is a fine line to be trod between being too soft on your players and demanding too much but in today’s press conference, I couldn’t help feeling as though the former England gaffer struck the perfect balance.
Roy is of course helped by the fact that Palace have a great deal of quality in the first-choice starting XI, who, when all fit should be nowhere near the foot of the Premier League table. Obviously, that’s exactly where we find ourselves at this moment in time but the demands placed upon the squad to improve from Hodgson suggest that he feels we’re well enough equipped to press on in the coming months and make worries over facing the drop a distant memory.
It would be foolish of me to brush over the scepticism which greeted Hodgson’s appointment as Palace boss back in September, particularly when you consider the genuine affection he’s starting to generate from large swathes of the Eagles’ faithful. Whilst many of us were duped into believing the stereotypes he had hung around his neck after England’s exit from Euro 2016, I’m sure an equal number of supporters will agree that he has been a real breath of fresh air in SE25 since stepping into the shoes vacated by Frank de Boer.
His press conferences, just like his tactics are always solid if not spectacular. He may not leave journalists with any headline-grabbing quotes but in our current predicament, I can’t escape the feeling that his approach is exactly what we need.
The players have clearly flourished with under him, producing performances that have warranted far more points than they’ve got, my only hope now, is that we turn what have been dominant displays into victories before we begin to get but too far adrift at the bottom.
As Roy has said himself, it’ll take far more than a wave of a magic wand to get us out of trouble but he and his coaching staff are doing everything they can to give us a chance of survival.