Roy Hodgson humbled by response of Fulham and Crystal Palace supporters
Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson admitted to feeling ‘humbled’ by the tributes paid by both sets of fans following his side’s 2-2 draw with Fulham.
Aleksandar Mitrovic’s first-half stoppage time spot kick cancelled out Odsonne Edouard’s opener and the Serbian handed the hosts the lead after the break, but Joel Ward’s late equaliser denied Fulham a final home victory of the campaign.
And it seemed warm sentiments toward Hodgson, who managed Fulham from 2007-2010, were as evenly shared as the final result at Craven Cottage.
“That was incredible,” said Hodgson. “I’m humbled by that, really. I can’t express how grateful I am. Both sets of fans treating me so well today and both cheering my name, because I had a wonderful time at both clubs.
“It was a wonderful time here at Fulham and it’s been a wonderful time at Palace, two spells now.
“So it’s really nice to see two sets of fans recognising that and giving you the sort of accolade that you could only dream or hope to get, so it’s going to be a big day in my memory I think, whatever happens, to have come here today, to have gone away with a well-earned point and to have both sets of fans cheering my name as I came off the field.
“That’s something not many managers get and I consider myself honoured and flattered that it’s happening to me.”
Hodgson has just next Saturday’s home clash with Nottingham Forest remaining on his current contract, and once again shut down a query about his next steps amidst swirling speculation he could be kept on.
The 75-year-old simply stated: “There’s no update on my future, other than that it will be a very good future.”
Wilfried Zaha’s future at Selhurst Park also remains a question mark.
The Palace talisman likely played his final match of the season after pulling up with injury last weekend against Bournemouth.
Fans fear it could have also marked his last appearance as an Eagle, with the 30-year-old, like his manager, out of contract at the conclusion of this campaign.
On Saturday Hodgson turned to Edouard in Zaha’s absence, which proved prescient when the Frenchman latched onto Eberechi Eze’s through ball and gave the visitors the lead on 34 minutes.
It was all square at the break, however, after Mitrovic converted in his first game back in Marco Silva’s starting line-up since he was handed an eight-match ban.
Mitrovic headed home his 14th of the season after the break, but Ward was alert to his own rebound from a set piece and bundled home the equaliser on 83 minutes.
Silva’s side, who remain 10th, paraded around the pitch post-match to thank their fans for what their boss believes was a thoroughly satisfying season.
Silva, who acknowledged last season’s Championship winners at times felt “flat” on Saturday, said: “The game was not at our best level and when this happens we have to analyse and prepare for the next one.
“[It was] a very, very good, to not say great, great season. No one expected for us to be where we are right now. Everyone predicted for us to be the first ones to go down, all the things I don’t want to repeat again.
“The season has been brilliant, this group of players has been unbelievable, they work right, they try, they do every single day. They come with the right mindset to learn and to improve.
“This is the main thing. I have to congratulate them again. Of course we didn’t finish yet, next week we can talk a little bit more, but I want to congratulate them for everything they have been doing this season so far.”