Brighton did the double on Crystal Palace as they succeeded their 3-1 victory in December with a 2-1 win at Selhurst Park on Saturday, with Luka Milivojevic’s second-half equaliser negated by a Anthony Knockaert wondergoal.
The home loss was the Eagles’ eighth of the season and it meant that Roy Hodgson’s side have now won just once in their last seven games at SE25 – a record that simply cannot continue if Palace are to end year after year of relegation battles.
The former England boss has conceded that this terrible return is an issue but declined to take responsibility for the record – he may, instead, have pointed the finger at the fans. Here‘s what the 71-year-old had to say:
“It [Palace’s poor record at home this season] could be down to expectations, I guess.
“That might be weighing on players, there’s no doubt that expectation will weigh on people. We do our best to prevent that from happening but we don’t play in a vacuum.
“We play in a world where things are written and said. The players feel pressure to do things.”
Indeed, Selhurst Park is widely regarded as one of the most vocal stadiums in the Premier League and, while Palace fans surely feel that the atmosphere is a huge boost to their beloved team, Hodgson has indicated that perhaps it is becoming their downfall.
Eagles captain Milivojevic has previously hailed the Selhurst Park faithful as the best, most supportive fans in the top flight, so it does seem strange that honcho Hodgson would point to that as a possible reason for their poor form at home.
The Croydon outfit have been a Premier League side for five years now and Palace fans, who have become accustomed to season after season of looking over their shoulder, surely don’t expect too much from their team.
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Sure, their squad, on paper, should probably be doing better than it is but Palace fans understand that it is never simple – each season since their promotion has been an emotional rollercoaster.
Hodgson has a wealth of experience under his belt and it’s baffling that he has been so foolish as to make such incendiary comments to a fanbase that are so immensely proud of their atmosphere and stadium.