Belfast Telegraph

Roy Hodgson fears more Palace pain lies ahead

Roy Hodgson predicted more "painful" moments ahead for Crystal Palace after his first match in charge ended in an historic defeat.

The former England manager was unable to make an instant impact after replacing the sacked Frank de Boer this week, as Steven Davis' early strike for Southampton at Selhurst Park condemned the Eagles to a fifth straight league defeat without scoring - an unprecedented run in English top-flight football.

Nor has any team gone so long since the start of a Premier League season without a goal.

It was a bad start for Croydon-born Hodgson, and with league games against Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea coming next, there is no obvious prospect of things improving in the near future.

"The major disappointment is that the attitude and the desire of the players that was obvious to us even in the two or three days we've been training didn't get any kind of reward," the Palace boss said.

"It wasn't even really that evident in terms of the quality of football that we were playing.

"So, now, it's five defeats, it's zero points, it is a really tough programme ahead if you look at the quality of the opponents.

"It is painful today and I fear it is going to be painful in some of the moments going forward.

"W e've got to try very hard to make certain that people don't dig themselves into a grave.

"The statistics dig us into a grave, but only what we do on the football field can get us out of it or make the situation worse."

Palace return to action at home to Huddersfield in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday - a chance to get a morale-boosting win before that daunting run of Premier League fixtures.

"I am really pleased to be back," said Hodgson, whose last match as manager was England's Euro 2016 exit to Iceland.

"Like every football match, afterwards if you've won it you're bouncing a little bit and are on something of a high, and when you lose it you're on something of a low.

"That's a fact of life and that's not going to change for me from here and going forward, but I am really pleased to be back."

For Saints, the 1-0 win was a timely shot in the arm after a stuttering start to the campaign.

Mario Lemina shone in midfield during an impressive all-round display by Mauricio Pellegrino's side, who brought on Virgil van Dijk as a late substitute having failed to get the summer exit he sought.

"We have to accept that everybody can express on the pitch," the Southampton boss said after the defender's first appearance since January.

"Around the player there is a lot of interest. You know how it works by now, it is a big business behind them.

"In the past we were a game, now we are a game but also a big business, and we have to accept that.

"Now we have to leave aside the situation and now everything is normal."

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