February 28, 2024

Roy Hodgson wore the look of a condemned man as Crystal Palace’s search for his successor gathered urgency.

Conspiracy theorists had a field day at the Emirates with out-of-work former Brighton and Chelsea boss Graham Potter in the stands making notes. In truth, Potter’s jottings may have been as innocuous as “loaf of bread, pint of milk, corn flakes, teabags” – but Palace’s dreadful performance was a 90-minute petition for a change of manager.

And it is believed former Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cooper and ex-Wolves head coach Julien Lopetegui are more likely to take over from 76-year-old Hodgson. Palace chairman Steve Parish is understood to prefer leaving Hodgson in charge until the end of the season, but just one win in 12 games has dragged the Eagles into a relegation battle and the bleak run may force him to act sooner.

Indeed, Hodgson deflected to the club’s decision-makers when asked if his side’s crushing 5-0 defeat at Arsenal could raise questions about his job security.

Hodgson, when asked if he felt he had unified support of his boyhood club’s board and those above, replied: “That’s a question for them, isn’t it? But if you’re asking me if I’ve ever felt a lack of support from them, then the answer is no.

“I think they’ve been good, but I mean now in [the] situation that you’re obviously discussing, in this scenario you’re envisaging, that’s going to be a question for them.” He later added: “When a team isn’t doing as well as it should be doing, someone needs to be held responsible, and that’s the manager.”

Hodgson understood the frustration from the disillusioned Palace fanbase, adding: “All I can say is I think they are totally entitled to their opinion in that respect. I do understand their frustration, even anger and disappointment, and things haven’t gone better.

Steve Parish is understood to prefer leaving Hodgson in charge until the end of the season

Steve Parish is understood to prefer leaving Hodgson in charge until the end of the season 


Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

“We can make our excuses which we’ve been doing because certain things have worked against us in this period of time, but the bottom line is that if we’re going to go forward and avoid relegation and do well, we need those fans with us. Hopefully we can do our best to keep them on board.”

Palace were drab and bereft of attacking threat at Arsenal. Next week’s home game with rock-bottom Sheffield United will be a tipping point, and skipper Marc Guehi admitted: “We need to find a way of getting ourselves out of a rut.

“We have got a lot of quality. We just need to come together as a collective and as a group and be determined to make things better, and that all starts on the training pitch. It’s important that we bounce back from this — that is the only thing that we can do.”


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