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In his pre-match press conference, Roy Hodgson was reminded that Brighton & Hove Albion have conceded at least three goals in each of their last six Premier League defeats.
But the manager paid little credence to the figure.
Instead, he said that such a stat reaches too far back to carry much optimism for Palace, and remarked on his respect for Sunday’s visitors.
“I actually have a very high opinion about Brighton and the job that Graham Potter has done there,” Hodgson said. “I think they’re a very good team. I’ve seen them lose a couple of games in recent months where they’ve actually been very good and fully deserved to win but came out on the losing side.
“So we’re preparing for a very, very good Brighton team and I don’t myself identify a credible defensive weakness. We think that they are good both going forward and defensively but if they’re kind enough to have got it into their heads that they need to concede three goals every game, we’ll take it.”
Hodgson was then asked to comment on the fans’ absence from what is a typically fierce meeting between historic rivals. He has previously been vocal about missing the 12th man at Selhurst and the impact of Palace fans, but this week explained the pragmatic view that the squad must be ready regardless.
He said: “If the question was: ‘Do I think this game would have been an even more exciting possibility or exciting game with fans rather than without them?’ then the answer is a resounding yes, it would have been. But it’s not going to be, so we’re doing our level best to prepare for the game that’s going to be played.”
The Eagles were unbeaten against Brighton in 2019/20, drawing at home and winning away. They will be looking to regain the start of season form that saw them trump Southampton and Manchester United.
You can watch Hodgson’s press conference in full on Palace TV by clicking hereor ‘Palace TV’ within the app.