Hodgson pays tribute to Palace science and medical teams

Palace had no goals and no points when Hodgson took over

Palace had no goals and no points when Hodgson took over

ROY HODGSON paid tribute to his medical and sport science teams after Crystal Palace secured their Premier League safety.

When Hodgson took over as Eagles manager in September, they had no points and no goals. In beating Stoke yesterday, they maintained their top flight status with two games to go.

"I’m certainly wise enough to know that it’s not a one-man job,” Hodgson said. “If you’re going to do well at Premier League level, you’re going to need an awful lot of help from a lot of people.

“It’s a tale of three teams. The important team is the one that got out on the field and played. The players deserve all the credit for producing the football necessary to keep us in the league.

“I would also like to pay tribute to the medical and sports science team. We’ve had problems with injury this year that I’ve never experienced in my management career, but we’ve overcome them. They’ve done well to get them back on the field again, often much quicker than was suggested.

“The final tribute I would like to pay is to my own team – Ray Lewington, Steven Reid, Dean Kiely and Martyn Margetson before him. I think they’ve done a good job trying to ensure that the players go onto the field each week prepared for the match they’re going to play.

“Every orchestra needs a band leader and I’ve been quite happy to wave the baton this year. It’s been a good year and I’ll get a lot of credit.”

The 70-year-old’s comments are in stark contrast to those of one of his predecessors at Palace, Alan Pardew, who last year claimed the science and medical teams at the club had been too cautious.

“When I started, the hard pre-season was a big thing, maybe too extreme among some,” Pardew said.

“But I think we have come too far the other way - doctors under pressure at Premier League level, sports scientists protecting themselves a little bit, sometimes worried what the chairman will think if there is any injury.

“I just think we have become too protective. I wonder if footballers are at the level they can be physically. I think many can go further.”

Hodgson added that Palace’s chances of success next season depended on Sporting Director Dougie Freedman recruiting the right players in the summer.

“It depends how well we replace the numerous players we’re likely to lose,” the former England manager said. “If we’re going to have a good season next season where we have stability and not being frightened to death every time a match comes that we’re going to lose it and be back in the relegation zone, I’ll need a good squad of players.

"There is a lot of work to do from Dougie Freedman in particular and our chairman and owners.

"They’ve got an awful lot to do to ensure that when I come back to pre-season training, there’s a group of players in front of me that I feel confident will be able to do what these have done, because we’re going to lose a few good ones – we won’t have any other choice.”

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