Crystal Palace: Unhappy Roy Hodgson on a knife-edge as Eagles vultures keep on circling

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Another painful defeat, another week with Roy Hodgson unsure of his future and Crystal Palace still perilously close to the drop zone.

Palace would have been good value for a point last night against Chelsea, but undid all their hard graft at the last to leave themselves empty-handed and ramp up the pressure on their boss.

Chairman Steve Parish is left facing a decision on whether to make a change ahead of potentially winnable games against Everton, Burnley and Luton in three of their next four matches. Palace remain only five points off the bottom three and have won just twice in 15 games.

"I'm not really in the mood, if I'm being brutally honest, of [highlighting] positives and trying to find things to say that would cheer me up, because I don't know what could be said that would," Hodgson said.

Roy Hodgson watched on last night (Getty Images)
Roy Hodgson watched on last night (Getty Images)

Palace's under-fire manager talked of the "50-50 gamble" of throwing men forward late on at 1-1, but that felt a flawed calculation when Enzo Fernandez scored Chelsea's second stoppage-time strike for a 3-1 win.

And that was after Palace had suffered the added heartache of conceding twice to Conor Gallagher, who had no issue in celebrating against his former team.

Pressure on Hodgson refuses to subside, with the 76-year-old left to mourn the "extremely cruel" way his side were dealt two killer blows at the death.

The defending for Chelsea's injury-time double was somewhere between naive and non-existent, totally at odds with Palace's mostly diligent display up to that point.

It's a bad period, but I'm not concerned that we will be relegated... there are 14 games left

Roy Hodgson

But one key blip, conceding an equaliser to Gallagher 81 seconds after half-time, will have wounded Palace. Already this season, they had conceded in the first (twice), second, third and fourth minutes of matches, as well as one second-half goal even earlier than Gallagher's. They simply cannot seem to start a half of football well.

Yet, Hodgson insisted he could scarcely have asked for more from the team he put out. Palace may have thrown it away late on, but Matheus Franca, 19, and Adam Wharton, 20, were exciting on their first League starts and there was another decent performance by January signing Daniel Munoz at right-back.

And what hope it gave fans when free agent Jefferson Lerma tackled his opposite number Moises Caicedo — signed for £115million — before arrowing the Eagles into a first-half lead. But Palace gave the game away and Hodgson was left to lament: "It's a bad period which has been caught by the injury situation, but I am not concerned we will be relegated. There's 14 games left."

It remains to be seen whether they will be his to oversee.