English Premiership

Hodgson: Mental strength key in survival derby

2018-04-13 09:30
Roy Hodgson and Jason Puncheon (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Roy Hodgson has told his Crystal Palace players that this weekend’s survival showdown against local rivals Brighton will be decided by mental toughness.

Fourth bottom Palace currently boast a precarious three-point advantage from the relegation places, but have played a game more than Southampton, who are directly below them.

The Eagles can take a significant step towards safety if they can overcome Brighton at Selhurst Park on Saturday.

But with local bragging rights on the line, as well as precious points, Palace boss Hodgson knows the pressure that his players will be under after previously steering West Brom and Fulham to survival.

“The table affects so much, the pressures from the outside weigh on players, but as a football coach there's only so much you can really do about that,” he said.

“We are where we are and these last five games could be very nervy occasions. We're going to be very anxious and there's no doubt that the anxiety will find its way from the crowd out onto the field and all I can hope for is that the players show their experience and stand up to it.

“There's nothing you can do or say other than make it clear that you've got confidence in them.

“Mental toughness and mental strength are great qualities. Some players seem to find it very easy to find mental strength, some find it hard.

“Both the games at Brighton [earlier this season] were played with passion. They were strongly contested, no question, but I didn't see anything in those games which reminded me of a derby I once saw in Turkey between Fenerbahce and Galatasaray.

“The players are experienced enough to realise they have to win this game and have to win it playing football, not by intimidating our opponents. Our opponents are too good and experienced to be intimidated.”

 

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Fixtures
Saturday, 19 October 2019
Everton v West Ham United, Goodison Park 13:30
Leicester City v Burnley, King Power Stadium 16:00
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Southampton, Molineux Stadium 16:00
Chelsea v Newcastle United, Stamford Bridge 16:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Watford, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium 16:00
Aston Villa v Brighton & Hove Albion, Villa Park 16:00
AFC Bournemouth v Norwich City, Vitality Stadium 16:00
Crystal Palace v Manchester City, Selhurst Park 18:30
Sunday, 20 October 2019
Manchester United v Liverpool, Old Trafford 17:30
Monday, 21 October 2019
Sheffield United v Arsenal, Bramall Lane 21:00
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