Roy Hodgson: ‘Some might panic but the chairman has seen it all before’

<span>Photograph: Dave Shopland/Shutterstock</span>
Photograph: Dave Shopland/Shutterstock

For a manager with so much experience, Roy Hodgson has developed a nasty habit of putting his foot in it this season. The 76-year-old again felt compelled to apologise to Crystal Palace supporters before Saturday’s meeting with his former club Liverpool, having claimed they had been “spoiled here in recent times” after he was booed off after the acrimonious 2-0 defeat by Bournemouth on Wednesday.

“I’m a bit distressed by my comments, which I bitterly regret,” Hodgson said on Friday. “To say we’ve spoiled the fans in recent years … I don’t think we have. I think the fans have been very patient, actually. They’ve been fantastic and have got behind us, even during this bad spell.

Related: Jürgen Klopp satisfied with Liverpool’s options despite Joël Matip injury blow

“It was frustration because it was how I felt myself,” he added. “I felt so exasperated after the game. Basically, I felt like booing myself at one stage – that’s the way things are.”

Such honesty should come as no surprise from the man who was hailed as the club’s saviour when he returned in a blaze of glory to take over from Patrick Vieira in March. Police are investigating after an object – understood to be a hand warmer – was thrown in the Palace manager’s direction as he made his way towards the tunnel after the meek surrender to Bournemouth, although Hodgson admitted to having a sleepless night for different reasons.

Although the former England manager said one win from their past eight league games was not good enough for his “fragile” side, he claimed not to be concerned by the very real threat of losing his job despite his comments not being well received by the chairman, Steve Parish. “We are not panicking ourselves, the coaching staff, the players,” Hodgson said. “They are questions you need to ask people higher up who might want to panic. I don’t get the feeling that is the case and I am lucky the chairman is very experienced and has seen it all before. If there is panic it is not being filtered down to me.”

Hodgson’s position was under scrutiny before the defeat by Bournemouth left Palace with one point from four matches. The former Wolves manager Julen Lopetegui attended Palace’s game against Tottenham in October and could be an experienced option to replace Hodgson, while Steve Cooper would also be a strong contender if shown the door by Nottingham Forest, having been coveted by Parish for some time. Paddy McCarthy – promoted to assistant manager when Hodgson signed a one-year deal in July – has been earmarked as the long-term replacement and was interviewed by Oxford United last month. The former Brighton and Chelsea manager Graham Potter is another potential candidate.

Hodgson will know he is on thin ice after a week when he was forced to backtrack after talking of an apparent disagreement between medical staff and Eberechi Eze over the England midfielder’s expected return from injury. He also had to apologise earlier in the season when he openly criticised the substitutes Matheus França, Jesurun Rak-Sakyi and Naouirou Ahamada after the home defeat against Spurs. “They didn’t do anything for us at all, really,” he said. “We became much weaker when I made the substitutions.” Hodgson’s unwillingness to turn to França – the Brazilian teenage winger signed in the summer in a deal worth up to £26m – was especially striking as they chased the game against Bournemouth.

Related: Ten Hag tells dropped Rashford to use McTominay and Maguire as inspiration

Parish revealed in October that he hoped work could start on Palace’s new 13,500-capacity main stand “this time next year”, although costs are believed to have risen to £150m from the projected £100m when plans were announced in 2017. It is understood his preference would be for Hodgson to turn things around and potentially to hire a new manager for next season but there is believed to be a growing feeling among Palace’s main shareholders that a change may be required soon if results do not improve.

Concerns over Michael Olise’s workload after his return from a long-term hamstring injury mean medical staff will make a late call on his involvement against Liverpool, and with Palace without Tyrick Mitchell – the only recognised left-back – Nathaniel Clyne is expected to come in against his former club. The absence of Cheick Doucouré, who was coveted by Liverpool in the summer, for the rest of the season is a major blow and Hodgson will point to the fact that Olise and Eze have been on the pitch together for 49 minutes this season as a major factor in their struggles.

Yet even as the pressure grows, the Premier League’s oldest-ever manager insisted that he had the same passion for his work as ever and no regrets about returning to Selhurst Park.

“I enjoy life and I want to keep it going for as long as I possibly can. I just don’t want to do too many things that will shorten it. So I suppose that’s always a factor that is brought home to me more and more as contemporaries and friends of mine or people that I know around about the same age, their lives end. It just reminds me even more your life hasn’t ended.

“Even better than that, you’re still doing something that you really enjoy doing, so it’s as good a moment as it’s going to get for me. But don’t forget that those bad impressions can set in like on Wednesday evening and you have to find a way of getting over them because there are other things in life and you have to keep that perspective.”