Premier League manager leaves club, gives reasons for decision

Roy Hodgson has stepped down as manager of Crystal Palace just hours before their Premier League game against Everton on Monday.

The 76-year-old managed the side first between 2017 and 2021, before returning for his second stint last year. Palace have won just six league games this season.

Hodgson, who was taken ill last Thursday at the club’s training ground, said he has “taken the decision to step aside so that the club can bring forward their plans for a new manager, as intended for this summer”.

In a statement, he said: “This club is very special and means so much to me and has played a big part in my footballing life.

“I have fully enjoyed my time here across six seasons, as it has given me the chance to work with top class players and staff doing what I love every day.

“However, I understand, given recent circumstances, it may be prudent at this time for the club to plan ahead, and therefore I have taken the decision to step aside so that the club can bring forward their plans for a new manager, as intended for this summer.”

Palace chairman Steve Parish added: “Roy has a special place in Crystal Palace history and this will never be forgotten.

After four years in which he led the club to maintaining Premier League status season after season, he once again joined us nearly a year ago to steady the ship, and worked wonders.

“That he then agreed to continue in the summer speaks volumes about his commitment to our club. Quite simply, we owe our continued Premier League status to Roy.”

Eden Hazard identifies manager he didn’t like working under at Chelsea

Eden Hazard has opened up about the one manager that he didn’t like working under at Chelsea.

Hazard played for Chelsea between 2012 and 2019 and enjoyed plenty of success, winning a haul of trophies at Stamford Bridge.

The winger featured under various different managers including Jose Mourinho, Antonio Conte, Rafa Benitez, Maurizio Sarri, Roberto Di Matteo and Guus Hiddink.

Hazard revealed that despite his difficulties with the manager in question, the coach was also the one that got the best out of him during his time at Stamford Bridge.

Speaking on the Obi One Podcast with his former Chelsea team-mate John Obi Mikel, Hazard said: ‘I think my best time at Chelsea was with Antonio Conte.

Mikel commented that Hazard didn’t like training under Conte, and the Belgian concurred stating: “Not at all”.

Hazard added that playing matches was the only time he could enjoy himself under Conte as it gave him a break from training.

Mikel and Hazard also recalled how Conte would frequently stop training sessions to give out tactical advice.

Hazard said: “All the week training. I was going out Saturday, I need to enjoy a little bit because I know the day after is going to be back on the training ground. I have to do something, it’s my only 90 minutes I can enjoy.

“You remember him, stopping, tactics, ‘no we have to do that’. Saturday was the best day for me.”

Conte was in charge of Chelsea between 2016 and 2018, with the Blues winning the Premier League title in 2017 and the FA Cup in 2018.

In the 2016-17 season Hazard was named in the PFA team of the year and contributed with 16 league goals.

Hazard scored the only goal from the penalty spot as Chelsea beat Manchester United 1-0 in the FA Cup final in 2018.

In total, Hazard played 94 games under Conte and scored 34 goals, while he provided 21 assists.

Pep Guardiola aims dig at Mauricio Pochettino’s comments after Man City draw

Pep Guardiola has seemingly had a dig at comments made by Mauricio Pochettino after Manchester City’s draw with Chelsea.

City were held to a 1-1 stalemate at the Etihad Stadium in the Premier League. Raheem Sterling opened the scoring for the London club in the first half, and it took a Rodri strike in the final minutes of the contest to rescue a point for Guardiola’s team.

The draw means City are now four points behind leaders Liverpool in the Premier League table. City’s game in hand comes against Brentford in midweek, before travelling to face Bournemouth next weekend.

Pochettino spoke to BBC Match of the Day after the game, where he explained how “pleased” and “proud” he was of Chelsea’s performance. The remarks from Pochettino were put to Guardiola, and the City boss appeared to aim a dig at the Chelsea manager.

“Good, congratulations,” Guardiola told BBC Match of the Day when informed of Pochettino’s comments. “If he believes that, that is good for his team.”

“We knew it [Chelsea would be a challenge],” Guardiola added. “That was a good game.

“We played incredible in the second half. The first half was not our levels but to compete against them teams you have to play 90 minutes not just one half.”

Pochettino explained why he was happy with Chelsea’s performance against City, particularly in the first half. The former Tottenham Hotspur boss went on to label City as the best team in world football with his analysis of the performance.

“I’m so pleased. I told the players I feel so proud,” said Pochettino. “In the last three games we’ve started to create a very good spirit. That’s the way we want to build our team. Today was a very good opportunity to show we’re going where we want.

“The first half was really, really good. We only conceded one chance – against a team like Manchester City who, for me, are the best team in the world.

“In the second half they force you to go deep, but we created chances to score the second goal and things could have been different. It’s important that the players realise that football is really competitive and to reach the level we want, we need to suffer.”