The Eagles were minutes away from securing a point at Selhurst Park on Monday night when Chelsea midfielder Conor Gallagher, establishing a reputation as a permanent thorn in his former side, struck for the second time four seconds into stoppage time to fire the visitors into the lead before Enzo Fernandez made it 3-1.

Palace, in 15th place and hovering just five points above the relegation zone, were once again forced to cope without Michael Olise, Eberechi Eze and Marc Guehi, all three key players injured in recent weeks.

Hodgson, whose side have now won just three of their last 19 Premier League meetings, said: “It’s a bad period, which has been caused in particular by the injury situation.

“But there are 14 games (left), that’s a lot of games, a lot of points, and a lot of matches to be played.

“I think we’ve shown enough, even in some of the other defeats we’ve had, there’s been lots of games where, really, things could have gone a little bit better for us, so I don’t have any concerns in that respect.

“But I do want to emphasise that there’s no complacency here, we realise that we’re at the wrong end of the table, we realise that the points are very necessary for us to climb away from the relegation zone.

“But if the question is do I think that this group of players are good enough to get us out now? I do. I think they showed a lot (against Chelsea) which gives me even more faith and belief.”

Palace’s 2-0 victory over Burnley in November was the only occasion the Eagles have managed to win this season without starting one of Olise, out with another serious hamstring issue, or Eze, recovering from his own hamstring problem, with both men already having sat out spells this term.

Hodgson hopes Guehi’s knee issue will solve itself sooner, while Cheick Doucoure (Achilles) is a long-term absentee, Rob Holding remains in recovery and Will Hughes was limping for 10 minutes of Monday’s contest before it was decided he could not continue.

There were flashes of hope. Jefferson Lerma struck his maiden Palace goal, while fellow summer signing Matheus Franca looked lively in his first Premier League start before tiring in the second half.

Lerma, Franca and January signings Adam Wharton – also starting in the top flight for the first time – and Daniel Munoz are now among the names Hodgson will lean on to carry his side through an important month that will see them face fellow relegation battlers Burnley, Everton and Luton.

He added: “I don’t think they can do much more for us, and we’re going to have to ask them to reproduce those performances in the next two games.”

Gallagher, who was on loan at Palace for the 2021-22 season, on Monday repeated a near-identical feat to what he accomplished for Chelsea on his return to Selhurst Park in October 2022, when it was his stoppage-time strike that secured the Blues a 2-1 victory.

In 2020, the 24-year-old signed a deal that would keep him at Stamford Bridge for five years, and while he has at times been linked with moves elsewhere, boss Mauricio Pochettino feels he is perfectly content at his boyhood club.

Asked about a potential contract extension, Pochettino said: “What he told me is he wants to stay at Chelsea, but then it’s about him and the club. He still has one year more of his contract, but I think that’s a matter of him and the club.”