Sunday, September 26, 2010

Roy: Fans Must Salute Our Fightback

Roy Hodgson saluted
Liverpool's second-half
fightback but was was left to
rue missed opportunities after
they were held to a 2-2 draw in
a rollercoaster encounter
against Sunderland on Saturday
The Reds got off to the perfect
start when Dirk Kuyt fired home
on five minutes but were left
stunned as Darren Bent struck
either side of half-time to put the
visitors in front.
Hodgson felt his team showed
great character to draw level
courtesy of Steven Gerrard's
header and believes their
reaction to going behind proves
they are beginning to get their
season back on track.
Hodgson told his post-match
press conference: "It wasn't the
result we wanted, we wanted a
victory, but in many ways it was
the performance we wanted.
"We had a bright start and lost
our way, but after such a bright
start I felt we could have been
two goals up because I thought
Torres's goal that was disallowed
for offside was incorrectly ruled
"So we did start well but then
Sunderland got back into the
game and evened things out. I
think the penalty they got was
fairly compensatory because I
don't subscribe to accidental
handballs, wherever a player's
hand may be. For me, a handball
must be intentional and there is
no way anyone will persuade me
that was.
"So we came in at 1-1 and then
suffered the real cold shower of
going 2-1 down very early in the
second half. But I thought the
reaction of the players was
extremely good. I thought we
dominated the game totally after
that and created lots of good
chances. But unfortunately we
only scored from one of them."
He added: "I think over the 90
minutes we were certainly more
than worth the point we got. I
thought it was a very exciting
second half, and I'm pretty sure
the fans will join me in
appreciating the effort, spirit and
determination of the players.
That in itself is another little step
Liverpool's opening goal was
met by loud protests from the
visiting players after referee
Stuart Atwell adjudged Michael
Turner to have taken a free-kick
that gifted the ball to Fernando
Torres, allowing the Spaniard to
race clean through and tee up
Kuyt to steer home.
However, Hodgson felt the award
of the goal was the correct
"I don't know if we were gifted a
start, I thought it was a good bit
of quick thinking from Torres
and Kuyt," he said. "Like I said,
we could have been 2-0 up
because I don't think the first
goal should have been ruled out.
"But we were at home, we
wanted to win the game and
hoped to build on that -
unfortunately there is an
opponent to play and they had
something to say in that matter.
"We need to work more
together, we have a lot of new
players coming into team. We
haven't had that much time with
matches in the Europa League
and the league. but I think that
the more we work and the more
the team plays together, the
better we will become.
"It's quite simply the 'Rome
wasn't built in a day' adage.
There's lots of things I see in the
game that I think we need to
work on. But I have a group of
players here who will work at it,
will get better and I think you
saw that during the course of
the game today."
Quizzed by journalists as to
whether he thought it was a
game Liverpool needed to win if
they have aspirations of
challenging at the top, Hodgson
said: "Look at the results today -
Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal
all lost.
"These are games we all need to
win, but the league is very, very
tight. If we had won today we
could have found ourselves in
fourth or fifth place. I don't think
we are playing like a team in
fourth or fifth just yet, but that's
how close the league is. There's
not a lot between teams and it
should be seen as how hard the
Barclays Premier League is."
Asked about the fans' protest
following the match, Hodgson
said: "I don't think anybody at
the club wants anything but a
solution to the ownership
"The fans here are very
passionate and care an awful lot
about this football club. You
cannot criticise them for
showing their displeasure about
the situation, because like
ourselves they want to see the
club moving forward and not
sort of stuck with owners who
are trying to sell the club."

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