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Hodgson toasts players after stunning Palace victory

Omnisport
NEWS
630   //    14 Oct 2017, 23:03 IST
royhodgson - Cropped
Roy Hodgson salutes the Crystal Palace fans

Roy Hodgson plans to treat himself to a rare glass of wine after masterminding the brilliant 2-1 victory over Chelsea that ended Crystal Palace's winless start to the Premier League season.

Having gone seven games without a goal or a point, a visit from the champions was seemingly the last thing Palace needed.

But an inspired performance from Wilfried Zaha, who scored the winner on the stroke of half-time after Tiemoue Bakayoko had cancelled out an own goal by Cesar Azpilicueta, gave Palace a huge lift.

It was Hodgson's first win in four league attempts as Palace boss and the former England manager was full of praise for the graft his players showed.

"That was really enjoyable. I have just said to the players that they really deserve to drink in that victory, because we played the champions of England but came off the field today having deserved our victory," he told BBC Sport.

"We created chances, scored goals and our defending was good from the first to the last. 

"To put in that type of wholehearted performance - chasing back, covering positions, winning back the ball - I think we deserve a lot of credit.

"I don't drink an awful lot these days, red wine isn't the best thing to drink if you want to keep your calories low, but I'll enjoy a glass tonight because I enjoyed watching my boys play well and I'm proud of their performance."

Hodgson added at his post-match news conference that Zaha deservedly earned plenty of plaudits, but denied that his return was the sole reason for victory. 

"I'm a bit disappointed that's the way you're deciding to go. I thought he was excellent, don't get me wrong, but it was a good team performance," he said.

"It's a bit unfair that a performance, of which we're really proud, to suggest that it's down to one good player returning. 

"Our defending was excellent from the first to the last, our midfield passing was very good, and the two front players – running with the ball and beating people, and running behind people – were excellent. 

"We had much more of a goal threat today. But I'm not putting my name to the fact that the reason we beat the champions of England is down [solely] to Wilf Zaha."

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On Palace's season going forward, he said: "I don't embrace the idea that this is our season starting.

"It's a 38-game season, each match has its own story. We'd like to read this chapter again!

"It'd be foolish to think that because we deservedly won today that we'll win against Newcastle and West Ham. We need to work.

"I thought it was a good team performance. Our defensive work was excellent. Both front players were very good."

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