Victor Lindelof shows Manchester United players have heart, says Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson

Hodgson’s Crystal Palace picked up a deserved point at Old Trafford this weekend

Mark Critchley
Northern Football Correspondent
Sunday 25 November 2018 16:50 GMT
Jose Mourinho in profile

Roy Hodgson believes Victor Lindelof’s decision to play through the pain barrier on Saturday said everything about the levels of commitment and desire within the Manchester United dressing room.

Hodgson’s Crystal Palace picked up a deserved point at Old Trafford this weekend, their first on that ground since 1989, though still failed to fully capitalise on yet another lacklustre United performance.

Jose Mourinho, the United manager, accused some of his players of lacking “heart” and “desire” in his post-match press conference, though hailed Lindelof as a “fantastic example” for playing on despite suffering an injury.

Hodgson was just as impressed with the Swedish defender’s dedication and, despite Mourinho’s complaints about “heart”, the Palace manager claimed Lindelof’s display hinted at deep reserves of commitment within the Old Trafford dressing room.

“If anyone doubts anything about Manchester United and commitment and desire, to see Lindelof, who had obviously injured himself, actually keeping pace with [Wilfried] Zaha and [Jordan] Ayew, that would tell you more,” Hodgson said.

“If I was a Man United man, that would be one of the most impressive things that happened in the game as far as I’m concerned.

“It would give me a lot of satisfaction knowing that not only are there good players here who can cause so many problems for opponents, you’ve even got that level of spirit and determination and guts when it comes down to it.

“He could quite easily have used the injury as an excuse, and Wilf and Jonathan who are very quick could have gone past him and maybe even won the game.”

Jose Mourinho: Manchester United won't be affected by derby defeat

The nature of Lindelof's injury is yet to be confirmed and Mourinho refused to speculate on whether the 24-year-old could be set for a spell on the sidelines.

The draw with Palace extended United’s difficult start to the season, which ranks as their worst since the 1990/91 campaign. And yet, Hodgson believes a trip to Old Trafford is as intimidating as ever.

“It’s just the same,” Hodgson said. “There are 75,000 people who are used to watching a very good team play with very good players, enormous strength in depth, bringing on [Alexis] Sanchez, [Marcus] Rashford and [Marouane] Fellaini.

“That tells you a lot, especially when people like [Romelu] Lukaku, [Juan] Mata and [Jesse] Lingard have started. They started what they thought was their best XI and then “brought those guys on.

“The atmosphere, the fact that so much has been done over the years here to make Manchester United what Manchester United are, no team is ever going to come here without a certain fear factor.

“You’ve got to be a very good team to come here and get something from them because not only have they got good players, they a) don’t give up and they b) run their socks off.”

Hodgson believes Palace's wait for a win will soon end

Palace could not end their winless streak on Saturday, which now stretches to eight games in all competitions, though that record is mitigated somewhat by a recent run of difficult fixtures.

The south Londoners have faced four of last season’s top six in their last four Premier League games, whereas Burnley, Brighton West Ham and Leicester City await over the weeks to come.

Hodgson is hopeful that Palace’s long wait for three points will come to an end soon, though warned his players that they cannot assume their next four fixtures will be in any way easier than the last.

“We need points and we need results, and if they think it’s going to be easier in some way against Burnley, Cardiff, West Ham and Brighton, they are making a huge mistake and they will be told that in no uncertain terms,” he said. “I believe they will accept those words and act on them.”

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