Roy Hodsgon has talked in glowing terms about Newcastle United and manager Rafa Benitez ahead of Saturday.
The Crystal Palace boss has given his pre-match press conference on Thursday afternoon and say he was very impressed with what he saw on Sunday.
As a treat for his wife of 46 years, Roy Hodgson took her along as he scouted Newcastle at St Mary’s. Hodgson saying’Newcastle are a good footballing team and they were every bit as good as I expected against Southampton’.
The game is already a sellout and the visiting manager believes that ‘Rafa Benitez is doing very well’ and Newcastle have had a’ deservedly good start’.
The returning from injury Wilfried Zaha was picked out as Palace’s best player in the surprise win over Chelsea last weekend, along with Andros Townsend the pair caused Chelsea plenty of problems.
This afternoon, Roy Hodgson confirms that both Zaha and Townsend will be available to play against Newcastle, with no new injuries heading into the game.
Roy Hodgson pre-Newcastle press conference:
“We’re lucky. No further injuries, just the two long-term ones. Wayne has recovered, so a clean bill of health.
“We have to work hard to produce performances like the one on Saturday. We have to keep doing that.
“Interesting theory (that Wilfried Zaha was less affected by poor run due to missing most of season). I hadn’t thought of that, but it’s possible.
“Wilf has been the talisman for Crystal Palace, but it’s not down to one man, it’s about the team. Delighted with him Saturday.
“If you asked me if he’s a great player with a very bright future, who can only get better, I’d answer with a resounding yes.
“Newcastle have had a good start, a deservedly good start. We must be ready for them.
“I think Rafa Benitez is doing very well and did well to almost save them in that year (March 2016) he joined.
“Then he stayed with them and brought them back up – they have had a great start.
“It is a team that has had work done on it and I can only watch Newcastle and congratulate them on a good job.
“Newcastle are a good footballing team and they were every bit as good as I expected against Southampton.
“They were organised at Southampton and it is a fanatical atmosphere at Newcastle – it is always a challenge, however well they are playing.
“They have started well and we have to be ready to give exactly the same performance as we did against Chelsea.
“I am seeing the best of Yohan Cabaye at the moment. He is performing extremely well and comparing his form here to elsewhere, I can only judge him on what I have seen here at Palace.
“We are a Premier League team so you would hope we have good players. It is about turning good players into a good team, exploiting the strengths that we have. That is my role and their role is to understand what we expect and to do it on the pitch.
“The players will be more confident after Saturday. They’ve transferred training work on to the pitch and shown they can do it.
“Football is about victories and defeats, a constant succession of parties and funerals. Any coach has to try to bring balance.”