BOSS Eddie Howe revealed he brought on defender Simon Francis to give Adam Smith licence to attack down the left flank at Crystal Palace.

The club captain was introduced alongside Ryan Fraser after 64 minutes at Selhurst Park, Diego Rico and Arnaut Danjuma were the two players to make way.

Francis slotted in at right-back with Smith switching over to the left of the back four.

Palace found their winner 12 minutes after the change, Jeffrey Schlupp surging through to beat Aaron Ramsdale and seal a 1-0 victory for Roy Hodgson’s troops.

Francis made his return after being sent off against Wolves last month.

Asked what the thinking was behind bringing on the defender when searching for a goal against 10-man Palace, who had Mamadou Sakho sent off in the opening period, Howe said: “It was to switch Adam Smith to the left to give us more of an attacking threat down that side of the pitch.

“And to make sure from set-plays we were strong enough to deal with what was probably going to be their biggest threat in the game.”

He added: “I had limited choices on the bench in terms of attacking options.

“Obviously, Ryan was the one and then after that I was trying to create it with the subs I had.”

With Joshua King injured and frontmen Callum Wilson and Dominic Solanke both starting, Howe went into the contest in south London without a recognised striker on the bench.

He also brought on midfielder Lewis Cook to replace Philip Billing eight minutes from time.

The boss added: “The way we attacked, as a team we didn’t function, we didn’t function well enough.

“We didn’t get our decision-making right, our positioning on the pitch right and we made it easier for them.

“It’s very easy to point to the attacking players but, as a team, we always say that we have to create for the strikers with good understanding between our players on the rest of the pitch and that didn’t happen.”