LONDON (Reuters) - Few managers have started as many new chapters in football management as Roy Hodgson, but the 70-year-old insists the latest with Crystal Palace will be a happy one.
Speaking to reporters on Friday for the first time since being named as sacked Frank de Boer’s replacement on Tuesday, Hodgson said he had no doubt he could turn around Palace’s fortunes.
The south London club lost their opening four Premier League games without scoring a goal, the worst start to an English top flight campaign for nearly 100 years.
Hodgson returns to coaching little more than a year after resigning as England manager, following defeat by Iceland in the round of 16 at the European Championship in France.
That episode, he says, is now behind him and he is looking forward to leading Palace away from trouble.
“I believe the team will stay up. Absolutely. I wouldn’t have taken the job if I didn’t believe that, or that me and my coaching staff would be the people to do that,” he said.
“There’s never been any doubt in my mind. It could be a good year if it ends up with Palace in the Premier League and the fans happy: that would make me very happy.”
Hodgson, who has coached 15 previous clubs in eight countries as well as leading the Switzerland and Finland national teams, said that Palace were a “good team” despite their dreadful start to the season.
“We’ve handicapped ourselves by not taking any points in the first four games,” he said.
“It’s a good team that started the season poorly.”
Hodgson faces a tough start. After Palace play Southampton on Saturday, their next three league games include away trips to Manchester City and Manchester United and a home fixture against Chelsea.
”I don’t look at four matches, I‘m looking at 34 matches,“ Hodgson, the second oldest active manager in English football’s top four divisions, said. ”Our focus is really on May, not the end of September.
“Leagues aren’t won or teams relegated in September.”
Asked whether it would be his last job in management, Hodgson said: “I’ll let time and results be the judge of that.”
While not all Palace fans have been impressed by the appointment of a manager whose England team struggled when under pressure, Hodgson said he was proud of his record, even if there were a few regrets.
”Careers are defined by small moments. Nothing I can say or do will change that,“ he said. ”It was a four-year period; one I look back on with satisfaction on a lot of things.
”But I can’t look back with satisfaction with not progressing at tournaments in the way we’d have liked.
“It’s a chapter that’s finished, in the past as far as I‘m concerned, and now it’s a chapter in the book of life opening for me, and one I‘m looking forward to.”
Writing by Martyn Herman; Editing by Christian Radnedge