Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson bitterly regrets his choice of words in suggesting Eagles’ fans had been spoilt with results at Selhurst Park in recent years – but vowed to continue the collected effort to push his team back up the table.
Palace slumped to a 2-0 home defeat by Bournemouth on Wednesday night, which saw some fans head for an early exit before boos followed the final whistle – with one supporter throwing a missile in Hodgson’s direction as he walked off.
With just one league win in the past eight games, which have seen five defeats, the 76-year-old understands all too well the frustrations in the stands at his boyhood club.
Hodgson returned for a second spell at Palace in March following the departure of Patrick Vieira, guiding the Eagles into the safety of a mid-table finish before eventually staying on ahead of the new campaign.
The former England boss remains determined as ever to turn things around once again as he prepares his squad for the visit of former side Liverpool for Saturday’s 12.30pm kick-off.
“I am a bit distressed by it really, certainly distress by my comments and a choice of words which I bitterly regret,” Hodgson said of his post-match broadcast interview after the Bournemouth defeat.
“I mean ‘we have spoiled the fans in recent years’ – I don’t think we have. I think the fans have been very patient actually, they have been fantastic behind the scenes and even during this bad spell.
“I can quite understand their frustration and their disappointment on Wednesday night because we all felt pretty bad about it, so I owe them an apology, that is for sure.
“They have been so good to me and the team during the almost five years I’ve been on the club now that I would be devastated if they seriously thought that I didn’t appreciate the way they are and the way they do try to get behind the team all times.”
Hodgson continued: “We are certainly going to need the fans tomorrow, when we are playing Liverpool which is always a very tough game either at home or away.
“The fact that we are at home is one of our hopes that we will be able to give Liverpool a really good game because the fans will get behind the team.
“At times like this when things aren’t going well for team, that’s when you really do appreciate it if you have got a fan base like we have that do get behind the team, that do care, that do keep singing and chanting.
“If you have got that going into a game like this one tomorrow, it’s that bonus we need at the moment because we are fragile, because we are on a bad run of results.”
Palace have suffered from a string of injuries setbacks this season, with full-back Tyrick Mitchell the latest player forced off during the first half in midweek because of a hip problem.
Eberechi Eze and Cheick Doucoure are both still sidelined, while Rob Holding and Jesurun Rak-Sakyi also continue their own recovery.