Friday, October 22, 2010

Hodgson Happy With Stolen Point At Napoli

Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson was pleased with a point after his under-strength side held Napoli to a stalemate in Italy. Hodgson left out several first- team regulars - including captain Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres - for the Europa League Group K clash with an eye on Sunday's Premier League game with Blackburn. Paul Konchesky had to clear off the line and Pepe Reina saved from Edinson Cavani, while Ryan Babel and David Ngog had chances for the Reds as the game ended goalless. Afterwards, Hodgson believed his side had deserved a draw at least, with the point keeping the Reds two points clear at the top with three games to play, including home games against Utrecht and Napoli. He told Sky Sports News: "It was a very good point, it was always going to be a very tough match, you saw the atmosphere, you saw the excitement and the interest in the game. "We had a lot of players who have not played very often in the first team this year, even a player, a young one Jonjo Shelvey making his debut, so the match was always going to be a tough one. "But I thought we handled it extremely well, I thought we were more than worthy of the point that we got from the game and I thought in the game the team played some good football." Praise Hodgson praised his team as a whole, believing the club have players outside of the 'marquee players' who are capable of competing at the highest level, while also hailing their discipline and work rate in the game. "That was a team performance that I as a coach and Liverpool as a football club can be proud of." He said there will be changes for the clash against Blackburn, adding: "There were plenty of positives to come from the game. "It was a good point which many people didn't think we would get, considering the team selection, but we've proved them wrong. "We are delighted with a point which keeps us top of the table." Hodgson also defended Liverpool supporters after they were targeted by Napoli's hard- core 'Ultra' fans in the hours before the game, leading some to be hospitalised. Concerned "I was aware and I was concerned [about the attacks]," he said. "These supporters have done a fantastic job; it was always going to be tough asking them to come to Naples as they know they are coming to a potentially dangerous situation. "All I can say is how grateful we are for their support and how sympathetic and sad we were to hear they had been attacked and some of them seriously." Napoli counterpart Walter Mazzarri was slightly disappointed with a third successive draw but praised Liverpool's performance. "Liverpool are a top team and they were an amazing team tonight," he said. "We could have had the advantage of scoring a goal at the end of the first half but I think we played very well and the only thing we didn't do was score. "We tried to the end and I think we showed the right mentality, thinking about winning the game."

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