Date published: Friday 7th December 2018 3:32
Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson has warned his side against thinking West Ham will be less of a threat without injured striker Marko Arnautovic.
The Austrian, who has scored five goals for the Hammers this season, was forced off during the first half of Tuesday night’s 3-1 Premier League win over Cardiff.
Arnautovic is expected to be out of action for around a month with a thigh muscle injury.
Hodgson, though, maintains Arnautovic’s absence will have little impact on the way he looks to set Palace up at the London Stadium.
“Every team we play, we are aware of the quality and the good players we will come up against, and when a team loses a player to injury or suspension, I never concern myself with that,” Hodgson said.
“So many times in the past there have been situations, in particular with goalkeepers, I have been told that these players are injured, ‘how lucky you are’, and ‘your task has become so much easier’ – then his replacement has come in and got the man of the match, and we have ended up on the losing side.
“So I am exceptionally loathed to say that our task is easier because they are missing a player, I will leave that to (West Ham boss) Manuel (Pellegrini) to decide how that will affect his team.
“West Ham have a very strong squad so if any team is able to cope with injuries, then it is them.”
Palace went down 3-1 at rivals Brighton in midweek, when the hosts had to play for an hour with 10 men.
But for a late consolation penalty from Luka Milivojevic, it would have been a third match out of the last four in which the Eagles failed to score.
Hodgson, though, rejected suggestions his side, still missing injured Belgian forward Christian Benteke, lacked a cutting edge in attack.
“I will accept the criticism that we haven’t been as good at converting some of the chances we have created, (but) I don’t believe that we lack quality,” Hodgson said at a press conference reported by the club.
“Now with Connor Wickham coming back to fitness, with Jordan Ayew playing well, in my opinion, and Alexander Sorloth getting better all the time, and with Christian Benteke not that far away, I don’t know that it is right to complain about a paucity of talent or ability in the forward areas.
“But of course for the number of chances we have created, we haven’t scored enough goals.
“If you did take every chance that you created, it would be a very different world.
“Our performance on Tuesday didn’t satisfy us, but others have and I am pretty sure the performance on Saturday will satisfy me because I know the players will be desperate to give a good performance.”