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HODGSON EXPECTING CLOSE ENCOUNTER

13 April 2018

Paul Hazlewood
Roy Hodgson

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson is expecting a closely-fought contest when Albion visit Selhurst Park this weekend, due to the organised nature of Chris Hughton’s men.

The sides will meet for the third time across all competitions this season, and Hodgson was complimentary about Albion ahead of the match, and spoke about the mentality his side would need during the Premier League run-in.

He said, “Both were tight games and once again we will be playing a very well-drilled team who knows exactly what they are doing and do it well - they are a hard-working side.”

"My team will need to have the mental strength to ensure they can survive the ups and downs, which are definitely going to happen in games.

"The bad refereeing decisions, missed goal chances, errors which have cost goals, we are going to need mental strength to survive all of those things that happen in a game of football which throw you off kilter if you are not careful."

Ahead of the game on Saturday afternoon, Hodgson spoke about the aforementioned self-belief and mentality of his players as the season approaches its conclusion, with a congested bottom half of the league table.

"I think having confidence in your ability to play certain passes gives you some degree of mental strength.

“But it is one of those things that is very difficult to define, I think as a coach you have to work much harder on the tactical, physical and technical side, the things you can control.

"Then you hope the mental strength is going to develop through players when they see what they are doing on the field of play is working and is going to bring results."

When the Eagles boss met the media on Thursday afternoon, he also gave an injury update from his side – citing the fact that he may be able to welcome some faces back into the fold ahead of the game with Hughton’s men this weekend.

"Alexander Sorloth trained for the first time today [Thursday] and came through the session well, whilst Christian Benteke has made enormous progress.

“He joined in the initial part of our session before going back to our sports science staff to make 100% certain it is not going to be too early to get back to action. If he can train tomorrow [Friday], as we hope he will, then he will be available.

"For the first time, we might have a squad that gives me options to change people, bring others on in later stages of the game or change the formation in games if needed, so I’m looking forward to that."


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