May 3, 2018 / 4:14 PM / 22 days ago

Soccer: Hodgson backs Benteke to fire for Crystal Palace next season

(Reuters) - Crystal Palace striker Christian Benteke’s struggles in the current Premier League campaign are not a true reflection of his talent, manager Roy Hodgson said on Thursday.

Soccer Football - Premier League - Leicester City vs Crystal Palace - King Power Stadium, Leicester, Britain - December 16, 2017 Crystal Palace's Christian Benteke celebrates scoring their first goal REUTERS/Darren Staples/Files

Benteke has struggled for form in the current campaign and his goal against Leicester City last weekend was just his third in the league in 29 appearances.

“It has not been a great season and he’ll tell you that. But I think he is a lot better than what we have seen this season,” Hodgson told a news conference ahead of Saturday’s league clash at 19th-placed Stoke City.

“I would expect him to go out and prove next season that this season was not a true reflection of him.”

Palace are 11th in the table with 38 points from 36 matches and Hodgson, who took over from Frank de Boer in September with the club bottom of the table, suggested he was keen to stay on and help the club improve further.

“Unless you’re one of the top six sides in the league it tends to be a two manager job to keep a team up. I’ll be talking to the directors... so that we can prepare to push on next season,” Hodgson said.

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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