‘A lot of satisfaction’ – Palace boss Hodgson assesses training ground graft during second spell
BY ANDREW MCSTEEN
A visit to the Crystal Palace training ground in Beckenham this week will provide more grains of sand than blades of grass on show and that can only mean one thing – the end of the season is with us.
The main grass training pitches on Copers Cope Road have been stripped of their green carpet, ready for their regrowth ahead of next season, but Eagles manager Roy Hodgson may not see the results as his short-term, 10-game contract is less than 48 hours away from concluding with no extension evident yet.
After being brought in to keep the SE25 side in the Premier League following the sacking of Patrick Vieira, Hodgson – in his second spell as boss – has overseen nine games in which 17 points were gathered along with top-flight survival.
And it was on that Beckenham grass, now sand, where the hard work was put in to turn around a team who had not won in 2023 since the Croydon-born boss returned to the South London hot seat in March.
“We have got satisfaction – the coaching staff here – from the way this team has played,” said Hodgson about how the daily work at Beckenham has translated into success in the Premier League.
“It’s been a very good team behind the team. We’ve worked very conscientiously and methodically with regards to the principles that we want to instil in the team; the attitude and just the whole way that players approach their job and the matches at the weekend.
“I’ll look back on this period of time here and working with this group of players with a lot of satisfaction in that respect. What it (training and coaching at Beckenham) has done is given us some very good moments in games where we have actually played well and we’ve got some rewards for playing well.
“That’s the thing you’re always concerned about as a coach – can you get the team playing well, doing the right things, defending as you want them to defend, attacking as you hope the team can attack?
“To get any real rewards from it you’ve got to win. The good attacking movements have got to finish with a goal, not a shot which hits the crossbar, is saved by the goalkeeper or goes behind – they are forgotten.
“You might be happy with what you see and you might be thinking you defended or attacked well today, but if you let a lot of goals in or not score them, unfortunately, you’re always starting from square one and only you might be able to get some satisfaction from it.
“But we’ve also got great satisfaction the way this team has worked on the training field and in matches. As a result, when I think back to the time we’ve had, it leaves a very warm glow going into the last game, but it also makes me a little bit nervous because the final game of the season.
“We’re in front of our own crowd playing a team below us in the table. I would like the boys to do well on Sunday and finish it all off in the best possible way and not finish on a bit of a damp squib.”
That match is their final assignment of the season before they all jet off on their holidays – a home clash on Sunday against Nottingham Forest.
Hodgson added: “A 12th place – it can even be 11th place – finish is not a bad achievement for Crystal Palace under any circumstances and I will walk away feeling that I did do a good job with Ray (Lewington) and Paddy (McCarthy).”
PICTURE: KEITH GILLARD
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