Roy Hodgson admits that healing the wounds of a disastrous start to 2017-18 will be a lengthy process at Crystal Palace.
The Eagles triumphed 1-0 over Huddersfield Town in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday morning, marking just their second win of the season since defeating Ipswich in the same competition a month ago.
With a winless run in the Premier League resulting in Frank de Boer’s sacking and leaving them bottom of the table, however, Hodgson says that patience will be needed to see more positive results.
“The players will understand, like the fans do, that you don’t repair the kind of damage we’ve suffered overnight,” he told reporters after the match.
“It’s going to be a longish and hard process. But I know there’s light at the end of the tunnel, and I started to see some shards of that.”
Palace fans welcomed the return of Mamadou Sakho to the starting squad and after adding stability to a previously leaky backline, Hodgson hopes he will be fully fit to face the league leaders.
“[Sakho] was excellent. He hasn’t been able to train as much as he’d like. We were worried about his level of fitness and surprised he lasted as long as he did,” he said.
“It wasn’t Mamadou being desperate to come off but, as a precaution, we thought he should come off after 70 minutes. He will be ready [to play at Manchester City on Saturday].”
Hodgson also praised the efforts of defender Pape Souare, playing his first match since suffering a a broken jaw and thigh bone in a 2016 car crash.
“He made two very important challenges coming through from left-back…once again, I’m delighted with him,” he added.
“We’ve got to be cautious and patient with him. You don’t have a year out of football with the injuries he’s had to recover from, he’s done ever so well to get on that field at all.
“We just have to keep training him, getting him some more games, so he comes back to the player he was before the horrific accident.”