Roy Hodgson says the top ten can wait with survival the priority for Crystal Palace

Safety first: Hodgson is only thinking about survival at Palace (Getty Images)
Safety first: Hodgson is only thinking about survival at Palace (Getty Images)

Roy Hodgson is confident Crystal Palace can achieve Premier League survival this season, and says a top-half finish will become the target if it is within reach towards the end of the season.

Palace — currently 13th — finished 11th last season, partly due to a spirited run once Hodgson took over as interim manager for the final ten games of the campaign.

The Eagles are winless since beating Manchester United at Old Trafford on September 30, but have an opportunity to put that right when visiting Burnley, who are in the relegation zone, on Saturday.

Hodgson said of tenth place: “That was a goal. We’re outside of the top ten. To be honest, if the top ten is going to be of any interest to me it is going to be into the last two or three games.

“We were eighth not that long ago and I wasn’t suddenly thinking we were going to be in Europe. Tables aren’t interesting at this stage of the season, really, other than the fact that you want to be away from relegation.”

He added: “Staying up is our first goal, but we believe we can achieve that — I won’t say easily, but we are capable of achieving that. We would like to go higher, no doubt, so let’s hope we can push on in these games, push ourselves higher and show the consistency to stay there.”

Jordan Ayew and Sam Johnstone signed contract extensions this week, and Hodgson said on Thursday that Palace are hopeful Eberechi Eze may commit his long-term future to the club soon too. The England international has been hampered by a hamstring injury but is set to be named in the squad for the trip to Burnley.

“These matters are taken care of by [chairman] Steve Parish and [sporting director] Doug Freedman”, Hodgson said. “They keep me informed, and I don’t have any impact on that. But certainly they are optimistic that it won’t take too long to get Eberechi to commit his future as well.”