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Roy Hodgson says Crystal Palace are ‘on the cusp’ of safety

Wilfried Zaha, James McArthur, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Patrick van Aanholt and Christian Benteke grab the goals against 10-man Leicester.

Roy Hodgson receives applause from Crystal Palace fans
Roy Hodgson receives applause from Crystal Palace fans

Roy Hodgson believes Crystal Palace’s 5-0 victory over Leicester has moved them to the “cusp” of preserving their Premier League status.

Goals from Wilfried Zaha, James McArthur, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Patrick van Aanholt and Christian Benteke lifted Palace to 11th place, six points clear of the bottom three.

The majority of the sides beneath the Eagles have games in hand but, even in the event of 18th-placed Southampton securing the points they require for survival, Huddersfield and Swansea at least would be at greater risk.

The home supporters at Selhurst Park celebrated towards the final whistle as though their team was safe and largely focused their chants on their manager.

Asked if he was also ready to celebrate, Hodgson responded: “We’re probably on the cusp of one ourselves. And I’ve been on the receiving end of one in the past.

“It’s dangerous to be relaxed and complacent. But it irritates me to hear managers harping on about mathematical possibilities.

“So many things would have to happen. It’s not just Southampton, but some of the others below us. They can’t all win, and they’re all below us.

“I thought 36 points with a good goal difference is enough. Now we have 38.

“We knew we had to win one of the last three to give ourselves a good chance. We’ve done that with the first one and given ourselves some margin.”

Loftus-Cheek impressed in front of watching England manager Gareth Southgate, Jeffrey Schlupp made his return from injury from the bench and Benteke ended his goal drought from the penalty spot on a fine afternoon for Palace.

Benteke scored for only the third time this season when, at 4-0 up, regular penalty taker Luka Milivojevic stepped aside.

Hodgson explained: “We, the coaching staff, put the idea out there but it was Luka who took the final decision. The idea, the proposal was from us on the bench.”

Defeat means Leicester have won only four of their past 18 fixtures and increased the pressure on their manager Claude Puel.

His team rarely looked motivated, but asked of the speculation surrounding his position, the 56-year-old responded: “It’s not my concern at this moment.

“It’s not for me to speak about this. My first feeling is to stay near my players and get a good response in the next game. The speculation about me and my future is not important.

“We are together. We are together at this difficult moment. It’s important to stay together. It’s tough, it’s tough.”

He also described the second-half dismissal of Marc Albrighton as “harsh”, and rued the loss to a hamstring injury of Wilfred Ndidi, who went off with the score at 2-0.

“After five (second-half) minutes we lost Ndidi, a catastrophe,” he said.

“We didn’t have a solution to that balance in the team. We tried to come back, but we conceded goals in the last 10 minutes, a catastrophe in the last few minutes.”

Press Association

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