LONDON – Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson says he has worked hard to keep his players’ feet on the ground after they finally scored their first goals and won their first game of the Premier League season.
Palace visit Newcastle on Saturday hoping to build on last week’s shock 2-1 defeat of Premier League champions Chelsea, during which – in their eighth match – they earned their first points of the season.
That result – in which the fit-again Wilfried Zaha excelled in a front two with Andros Townsend, while Mamadou Sakho provided stability in defence – has transformed Palace from a near-certainty to be relegated to a team suddenly expecting to survive.
Despite still being rock bottom of the table after losing their opening seven league games without scoring a goal, which is the worst start to a season in English top-flight history, Palace are only five points adrift of a clutch of teams hovering above the relegation zone.
At St James’ Park they will be further strengthened by the return to fitness of goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey, who will compete for selection with Julian Speroni, and the availability of the on-loan Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
“Football’s a constant succession of parties and funerals,” said Hodgson.
“It’s about victories and defeats. That’s never going to change. You have to be careful as a coach or manager to even those things out a little bit, and not allow people to think every defeat is some sort of funeral atmosphere or every win is euphoria.
“We’ve got to get somewhere in between those two things.”