Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson puts celebrations on hold
By Dan Long
Last Updated: 13/01/18 7:54pm
Roy Hodgson says he has no reason to celebrate at this stage of the season, despite guiding Crystal Palace to 12th in the Premier League.
Since taking over at Selhurst Park, the former England boss has transformed the Eagles from odds-on relegation favourites to a side closing in on the division's top 10 and with just one defeat since November 5.
Despite that run - which has seen Palace hold champions-elect Manchester City to a stalemate on New Year's Eve - Hodgson believes his side still have plenty of work to do in their remaining 15 games.
They continued their resurgence on Saturday when Bakary Sako's first-half goal was enough to earn Palace another three points as they ground out a narrow 1-0 home victory over Burnley.
Speaking in his post-match press conference, Hodgson said: "I have no desire in January to celebrate being in 11th place. The only thing that interests me is where we are on the final day, and being one place above the relegation zone.
"Anything else would be a huge bonus, especially having started with seven games, seven defeats and no goals.
"It's nice now that things are no longer looking so bleak, and we should enjoy that, but there will be lots more games like today where you do enough to merit the three points, and then suffer in the second half because a one-goal lead can always be cancelled out."
Although the Palace players looked confident in their approach throughout the game, fans were left on tenterhooks as the 70-year-old failed to make a single change, despite increased pressure from the Clarets as the game wore on.
"We had Yohan Cabaye on the bench but he wasn't there yesterday," said Hodgson. "This morning he went in and we had the results of the MRI scan that showed that nothing was damaged and it was just muscle fatigue, and we persuaded him to be on the bench in case we needed him.
"In honesty, I would have only put him on the field if it was absolutely necessary because of the fatigue that kept him out of training for a few days. The players that were previously substitutes breathing down players' necks were starting the game."
Hodgson also reserved extra praise for Patrick van Aanholt and man-of-the-match Timothy Fosu-Mensah.
"We know that Fosu-Mensah and Van Aanholt are quality players - Tim is still young and is getting some experience but Patrick hasn't played so many games," he said.
"He has come in and feels under pressure because he's not had the opportunity to play all the games beforehand, but both will go home tonight more confident about themselves and their performance, knowing that the coaching staff appreciate what they have done."
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