Crystal Palace required an inspired second-half performance to ensure they managed to get something from their game with Leicester City.
Although the two teams went in level at the break despite the Foxes missing a glorious chance from the penalty spot, the Eagles were second to everything and did not look likely to get anything from the game. For those who visit betting24.se, they would have been hoping Jamie Vardy was on the pitch to take it instead of Kelechi Iheanacho.
The 15 minutes that managers get with their players in the dressing room at the interval can prove crucial and they certainly did for the Selhurst Park outfit, although the words did not come from the first individual you would have thought.
Roy Hodgson revealed after the game that Ray Lewington deserved the credit for turning things around in the second half as he provided the half-time rant to their players and made sure they went out on the pitch knowing they needed to be better.
Palace managed to come out of the blocks quickly and were rewarded when Wilfried Zaha fired home an exquisite volley after starting the move with his own driving run forward and through the middle of the Leicester City defence.
Of course, The Foxes did get their goal through a top strike from Harvey Barnes, however there will be some delight from the Palace faithful that they had started to play better, especially after a touch Christmas football period.
Lewington could not appear to hold his words back at half-time, which might not be much of a surprise to many who have watched Palace regularly as you can always hear him screaming and shouting for every ball from the touchline, however it appeared to amuse Hodgson as he said it was an ‘extremely rare’ moment.
He said after the game – via Fox Sports Australia: “I wasn’t at all happy with the first-half and Ray Lewington at halftime was almost apoplectic in his criticism of what we were doing in that half. Luckily it produced the desired effect.”
A laughing Hodgson said Lewington’s blow-up was: “extremely rare, that’s for sure. I’ve been guilty myself of having the odd rant in recent times and haven’t always felt that proud of myself after. I was more than happy to let Ray take centre stage today.
“I think certainly it produced the right effect. I think Ray’s going to have a headache and a very sore throat tonight but he can at least feel very happy that what he said and demanded for the second half was the right thing to demand and was actually produced on the field of play.”
He also joked to Amazon Prime: ‘It certainly was [positive] in the second half but it almost cost my assistant Ray Lewington a heart attack to produce that energy.”
Hopefully, for everyone’s sake at Crystal Palace, Lewington will not have to make a habit of these team talks moving forward.