Roy Hodgson refuses to use fatigue as an excuse for Palace’s loss to Southampton.
Roy Hodgson said “We can’t use that as an excuse because we had the same rest period between the games as the other teams in the league. It’s more of a question that we’ve had this period where the same 11 basically have had to fight their way through games, and some quite tough games into the bargain, and it caught up with them a little bit tonight. I’m not really thinking about the transfer window but about the recovery of six players, because six players is a lot to have out of your squad. I’m not just talking about six players who never play, you know — we’re talking about [Christian] Benteke, Andros Townsend, Jeffrey Schlupp, Mamadou Sakho, Patrick Van Aanholt and Luka Milivojevic — those are players who normally play in the team. So if you like, they’ll be like six new players when they come back as we’ve been doing without them for the last four or five weeks.”
Joel Ward has challenged himself to re-establish and play a key part in the Crystal Palace backline to fill the void left by Aaron Wan-Bissaka. Ward started the campaign as the club’s only senior right-back and with a point to prove after Wan-Bissaka joined Manchester United for £50million last summer. Ward was one of Palace’s most consistent performers and played every minute in the Premier League until hamstring and knee injuries hit in November.
Fit-again Ward, who returned to action in the final minutes of Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Manchester City, is ready to pick up where he left off and help Palace continue their good season under Roy Hodgson.
Roy Hodgson also confirmed that midfielder Max Meyer has recovered from the minor injury he sustained under the challenge of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang against Arsenal.
Roy Hodgson said “Luckily the players that played on Saturday came through. Max Meyer has recovered from the injury he picked up against Arsenal. Otherwise, the injury situation remains the same but we’re down to six missing. One of those of course is Luka Milivojevic, who’s suspended.We’ve had to rely on our Academy players who’ve no experience at all to fill our benches. During the course of games when you’d like to make a change late in the second-half to prevent injuries and get fresh legs on the field, we’ve not been able to do that. The situation is gradually improving but I’m full of admiration for the group of players who’ve played.”
Crystal Palace despite their injuries and depleted squad have given fighting performances during the season and got reward with a 2-2 draw against Manchester City in the last game.