Roy Hodgson hits back at Crystal Palace fans ahead of Arsenal clash | Football

Roy Hodgson has engulfed the fury of Crystal Palace fans – again (Photo: Getty)

Roy Hodgson defended subbing Eberechi Eze off during Crystal Palace’s loss at Everton, claiming he was resting the player for the clash at Arsenal on Saturday.

The Eagles were knocked out of the FA Cup on Wednesday night after losing their third-round replay at Goodison Park 1-0.

A wonderful free-kick from Andre Gomes sent Everton through to the fourth-round where they’ll host fellow Premier League side Luton Town.

The defeat means Hodgson’s side have now won just one of their last 11 games across all competitions, and supporters who travelled to Merseyside did not hide their displeasure toward their manager.

They became especially irate in the 64th minute, when Eze came off despite being Palace’s best attacking player and with the side desperately needing a goal.

It was not clear at the time if the England international had sustained an injury or not, but regardless fans loudly booed the substitution and chanted ‘You don’t know what you’re doing!’ at Hodgson.

Speaking in his post-match press conference, the 76-year-old confirmed that Eze was not injured – a small comfort – and that he was ensuring the 25-year-old would be fit for the trip to the Emirates, saying: ‘We had to think very carefully about it.

Everton v Crystal Palace - Emirates FA Cup Third Round

Eberechi Eze was subbed off after 64 minutes against Everton – much to fans’ disgust (Photo: Getty)

‘I appreciate for the fans it’s a long way to come and we appreciate their support. I would have been disappointed to see Eze go off as he’s one of our best players.

‘But I also would be extremely disappointed as a fan if he’d have played another 30 or 35 minutes and got injured in the process, or put himself in a situation where he can’t go out on the field against Arsenal – that would have been extra disappointing.

‘Even without him on the field, I thought we did enough to cause Everton problems and create goal chances – I would say in the last 20 minutes of the game, we had three or four exceptional goal chances. But once again we can only blame ourselves we didn’t take them.

‘The major problem for us has been that we’ll get home at two ‘o clock this evening [02:00], and at 12:30 we’re playing Arsenal on Saturday. That was our problem in a way. It was a good opportunity to see some of the players who rarely get a chance to play.’

This is not the first time that tensions have boiled up between Hodgson and the Palace faithful, with a fan throwing a bottle at the 76-year-old after a woeful defeat to Bournemouth in December.

Following the game, the former England boss accused supporters of being ‘spoiled’, comments he later apologised for.

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