Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson has expressed his frustration with his side's inconsistent performance in their 1-1 Premier League draw with fellow relegation candidates Newcastle United at Selhurst Park.
The Magpies took the lead midway through the first half, as Mohamed Diamé slotted home at the back post after he was left unmarked at a corner.
Palace looked a different side in the second half, and equalised via a firmly struck Luka Milivojević penalty. The hosts were unlucky not to win the game, after bossing the second half with a fine display of attacking football.
Speaking after the match, via Crystal Palace's official website, Hodgson admitted his exasperation with his side's continued tendency to start games on the back-foot, stating:
"I’m a little frustrated. At half-time I wasn’t too happy with the way we played in the first half, even though we created two or three good chances I didn’t think we played anything like I’d like to see the team play.
"As a result you might have thought we would have been happy with a point but the way we played in the second half and the dominance we had in the end, I’m disappointed we didn’t get more than one goal for those efforts. We were asking lots of questions of Newcastle in the second half but that ball wouldn’t just go over the line for us during those goalmouth scrambles.”
Turning his attention to his side's continued struggle to impress in the first half of matches, Hodgson attempted to find the cause of their difficulties, saying:
"Maybe it’s nervousness or being concerned about how important the result is. Then we find ourselves 1-0 down after poor defending of a corner kick, but we have the ability after half-time to come out as a totally different team.
“We exerted a lot of pressure on Newcastle and had the ball in and around their box, and even though we had 21 strikes at goal a lot of those were from distance which doesn’t interest me, but there was a lot of entries into the penalty area which does. If we can keep doing that then with the type of players we have, then we will score goals.”
The draw sees Crystal Palace rise to 14th in the Premier League, but the bottom half of the table is now so congested that Hodgson's side are just three points away from the dreaded relegation zone. With tricky matches against Spurs, Manchester United and Chelsea on the horizon, time is rapidly running out for the Eagles to steady the ship before the season ends.
The south Londoner's efforts will not be helped by their ongoing injury crisis, which has seen a number of first team squad members out of action for weeks. Among those unavailable to Hodgson are defensive duo Bakary Sakho, Scott Dann and Jeffrey Schlupp, as well as attacking players Connor Wickham, Bakary Sakho, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Jason Puncheon.