Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson still wary of relegation

Roy Hodgson has admitted he still fears relegation despite Crystal Palace sitting ninth in the Premier League and eight points above the bottom three.

Since the former England manager took over at Selhurst Park in September 2017, his task has been to keep the Eagles in the division.

This has been achieved with 11th and 12th-placed finishes, but a strong start to this season has seen Palace largely occupying the top half of the table.

However Hodgson, 72, is not allowing complacency to creep into his injury-hit squad with 16 top-flight fixtures left to play and cited Watford’s improvement from 20th to 17th under Nigel Pearson as a prime example.

“I don’t know that anyone is really cut adrift and Watford have proved that,” he said.

“I think all the teams down there are capable of staying in the league and all of us who are above them would be well advised to be wary that we don’t get sucked in. Am I comfortable? No. Do I fear relegation? Yes.”

The fear of going down has ensured Hodgson will not rest on his laurels and instead he has continuously asked for reinforcements this month.

Cenk Tosun is the only new arrival in January so far and, with injuries piling up, Palace make the trip to Manchester City on Saturday with a number of under-23s in their travelling party.

A move for Tottenham defender Kyle Walker-Peters appears to have stalled while talk that Schalke’s Nabil Bentaleb could join is wide of the mark.

Forward Christian Benteke has been linked with an exit, but Hodgson refused that claim and insisted he needs everyone at the club.

He added: “There are a lot of games still to play and I won’t be satisfied or comfortable until we have enough points for me to not have to worry that a bad run of form will suck us down into the relegation battle.”

A shock 3-2 win at City last season boosted Palace’s chances of survival, but failed to stop Pep Guardiola’s side winning the title.

The league looks Liverpool’s to lose this term, although Hodgson still praised the work of City manager Guardiola ahead of Saturday’s encounter.

He did, however, suggest he does not spend enough time with the former Barcelona boss to learn from him.

“I don’t think in terms of my relationship with other managers, at this stage of my life, has necessarily been relationships from which I am trying to learn from them,” Hodgson admitted.

“I don’t expect them to be trying to teach me things and I don’t necessarily think it is incumbent on me either to look to learn from other managers from the two or three minutes (we speak).

“When we talk for 30 seconds or we meet in the meeting in London and we speak for maybe one and a half minutes, I don’t quite know where the learning will come from.

“I learnt a lot from Don Howe, Bobby Robson and David Sexton when I was a young coach. These days my life has changed enormously.

“But watching his team, I am pretty certain that if I had the players at my disposal that he has I would certainly be trying to play in a very similar way.”