Chelsea’s fine run in away matches this season came to an abrupt end as in an unexpected result, the Blues lost to Crystal Palace 1-2 at Selhurst Park giving the hosts their first points of the 2017/18 campaign, on Saturday.
Thrilled by his team’s fine display, Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson said in the post-match press conference his team defended brilliantly from the first minute to the last. “I thought it was a good team performance. Our defending was excellent from the first minute to the last, our midfield passing and movement was very good and Andros and Wilf made a big difference to our play by their ability to beat people with the ball, but also run behind people and use their pace, so we had much more goal threat today.”
Speaking about his game plan in the match, he said, “We’ve had time to work with the team and we’re understanding more about what we need to do as a team. All tactics have to be based on very solid principles and we have to understand what we need to do when we defend, and what we need to do when we attack. There are of course minor tweaks which we are obliged to do because we only have one out-and-out centre forward in the club, and he won’t be playing for another three or four weeks.”
When asked if his team could have won by a bigger margin, Hodgson said: “I think it’s greedy if you suggest that it should have been more. We did have a lot of chances but they did too, and we wouldn’t have had to apologise today if we had scored four or five goals today because our chances were pretty clear-cut. I am pleased that we got one more than them.”
Meanwhile, Chelsea’s manager Antonio Conte felt that they paid the price for a slow start. “I think that today was a difficult game for us. Our start was poor and when you play against Crystal Palace you have to start with more personality, otherwise you allow your opponent to take confidence. We conceded the first goal, we were able to come back but in the last few minutes of the first half we conceded another bad goal and then it was very difficult for us.”
“I wasn’t surprised because when you play a team who are fighting in the relegation zone I know the kind of atmosphere you have to face. Palace played with great intensity and fought for every ball, but I prefer to concentrate on my team. Every coach has to solve their own situation,” he said, adding, “I don’t like to lose, especially twice in a row. For sure today my soul is bad and it will be difficult for me to sleep, but we must have the same sensation, me and my players, to turn a negative situation into a positive.”
With inputs from agencies and official websites of Chelsea and Crystal Palace