Roy Hodgson ruthlessly dug out three young Crystal Palace players following Friday’s Premier League defeat to Tottenham.
The veteran boss brought on three of his young stars to help give his team more energy, but said after the home loss that they ‘did nothing’.
The Eagles were beaten 2-1 by Spurs on Friday night in a dominant performance from the leaders – who sit five points clear at the summit before the rest of the weekend’s fixtures.
The hosts did enjoy some bright spells in the first-half, where Tottenham were indebted to saves from Guglielmo Vicario to deny Crystal Palace stars Jordan Ayew and Odsonne Edouard.
But an own-goal from Joel Ward broke the deadlock shortly after the break in the 53rd minute, deflecting James Maddison’s cross into his own net, with Spurs making it 2-0 soon after through in-form captain Heung-min Son.
Ayew later netted a consolation goal deep into stoppage-time, but Palace’s dogged work in the first-half was undone by a sloppy and sluggish performance in the second 45 minutes.
That was something Hodgson tried to address when he brought youngsters Jes Rak-Sakyi, 21, Naouirou Ahamada, 21 and Matheus Franca, 19, off the bench.
But they did not have the impact Hodgson wanted, as the manager made clear in his post-match press conference, saying they actually made Palace ‘weaker’. Ouch…
“There was no disappointment today,” Hodgson said, when asked if he was pleased with his team’s fight after last week’s 4-0 drubbing against Newcastle.
But he then added: “Although, maybe the young substitutes — who we like to think we can believe in and help us to a different level — didn’t show that.
“They didn’t do anything for us at all, really. We became much weaker when I made the substitutions.
“I thought it was an aggressive and quite-controlled first-half from our side, but of course the first goal then produces a second,” he said.
“That is when we start putting players on the field, players who have not really played with the first-team, Jes, Ahamada, Franca and we lost the intensity we were able to do in the first-half.
“In the end it became easy for them [Tottenham] to see the game through.”
Hodgson did, though, admit he ‘feels sorry for Franca’ – the Brazilian forward who joined the club in the summer from Flamengo and was tipped as a Wilfried Zaha replacement.
He arrived with a ‘wonderkid’ reputation, with Palace forking out £26million to sign him – the second-highest transfer fee in the club’s history behind the £27m they spent on Christian Benteke.
But Hodgson said he feels the teenager has been ‘imbued’ with qualities he doesn’t quite posses yet, and insisted he ‘needs to be given time’ to settle at the London club.