Roy Hodgson has called for a reaction from his Crystal Palace players when they face high-flying Leicester on Monday.
Hodgson was relatively upbeat despite a 7-0 defeat by Liverpool last weekend, recognising the excellence of Jurgen Klopp’s table-toppers, but could find no reason for optimism after watching his side go down 3-0 to 10-man Aston Villa on Boxing Day.
It was only 1-0 when Villa defender Tyrone Mings was sent off before half-time but Palace conceded twice more in a hugely disappointing second half and rarely threatened a response.
Hodgson said: “You can always lose two games in a row in this league. I don’t think I’m that concerned that we are a particularly inconsistent team that don’t have a clear idea of what they should be doing. But it’s a question of results and the last two results have been very bad ones.”
The Palace boss was most unhappy that his team failed to take advantage of playing against 10 men, saying: “That is a very concerning and worrying factor.
“Somehow we’ve got to find the mental strength to make certain that, when we go out and play Leicester, we ask more questions and cause more problems than we were able to against Villa.
“We really need to get back to a level that we showed quite early on in the season that has been missing – I don’t want to say for two games because Liverpool was very special – but certainly (against Villa).”
Palace could again be without defender Gary Cahill, who missed the Villa loss with a hamstring injury, and Hodgson is likely to freshen up his side – although he will not make wholesale changes.
He said: “One or two players need replacing because of efforts put in (against Villa). Luckily we do have the opportunity to put in some fresh legs.
“I don’t think we were at sixes and sevens defensively. We made mistakes. The biggest problem for me was we didn’t use the great advantage we had. We’ll have to give it some thought, we’ve only got one training session. We know we’re better than we showed.”
Leicester are flying high in the top three and have impressed in their last two games, beating Tottenham and drawing with Manchester United.
Their attacking threat is obvious, with Jamie Vardy again among the Premier League’s top scorers, but Hodgson has been impressed by the solidity of the Foxes at the other end.
“They don’t let many goals in, they obviously know how to defend,” he said. “We need to come out all guns blazing in an attempt to put this defeat behind us.”
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