Palace boss Hodgson hoping for 'seamless' reintegration upon return

Premier League - Crystal Palace v Arsenal
Soccer Football - Premier League - Crystal Palace v Arsenal - Selhurst Park, London, Britain - May 19, 2021 Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson waves to fans after one of his last games before retirement Pool via REUTERS/Justin Setterfield

March 30 (Reuters) - Roy Hodgson is solely focused on helping Crystal Palace retain their Premier League status and is banking on the connections he made in his previous stint at Selhurst Park to help him reintegrate, the former England boss said on Thursday.

Hodgson, who was in charge of Palace between 2017-2021, replaced Patrick Vieira earlier this month, after the Frenchman was sacked following a poor run of form that left the team three points above the relegation zone.

Palace are the only side in the league without a win in 2023, having drawn five and lost seven of their games. They are 12th on 27 points with 10 games to play.

"The time I spent here were good years. I forged a very good relationship, not only with the owners and the sporting director but I think a lot of people around the place as well, not least of all a large group of the players," Hodgson told reporters ahead of Saturday's home game against Leicester City.

"In terms of coming back, it wasn't a difficult decision to make. Now that I am back it means things can fit in quite seamlessly because people know me and they know how I like to work."

Hodgson was brought in on a short-term deal until the end of the season, and the Englishman said he is not thinking about his future at the club.

"I am purely focusing on the now. I don't know what Crystal Palace's plans are going forward," Hodgson said.

"Knowing Steve (Parish) and the owners as well as I do I am sure they have ideas and have got plans going forward.

"They have asked myself and Ray (Lewington) to do a very specific job - to work with this group of players and try to make certain that by the end of the season we are still a Premiership team - I like it that way."

Hodgson, the Premier League's oldest ever manager at 75, said that he did not feel old enough to retire, adding, "I know what I am, I know my birth certificate tells me I am (old enough), but the way I feel doesn't really tell me that."

Reporting by Aadi Nair in Bengaluru Editing by Toby Davis

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