Goals from Olivier Giroud, Christian Pulisic and Tammy Abraham ensured the Blues took the points from an end-to-end London derby, but it could have been very different.
Kepa Arrizabalaga was forced into a wonderful fingertip save to deny Scott Dann before Christian Benteke was thwarted by Kurt Zouma’s last-ditch challenge in the 96th minute.
The defender went down while trying to track the run of Willian, who picked out Giroud for the opener.
But Hodgson said: “It would be unrealistic of me to suggest they should have put their foot on the ball and stopped to see how Gary was.
“That is not the way football is, but it certainly was a very unfortunate incident that happened so early.
“In the end it cost us a point because that was the goal they won by, they won by one goal.”
He added: “The players deserve to be very proud and pleased with that performance.”