Roy Hodgson hopes that Crystal Palace will be able to forget about any idea of relegation after their next two games.
A 1-0 win over Brighton saw Palace take a massive stride towards safety, with Jordan Ayew scoring the crucial goal in the second half to ensure Hodgson’s 100th Premier League game in charge ended in victory.
Brighton had more possession and shots, but Hodgson was pleased with the way his side combatted the threats posed by their rivals and made the most of their own chances.
“It was a really good performance from the team, a battling performance,” said Hodgson.”The pitch was heavy but I thought we kept in the game well and got our reward in the end.
“We should have more than one today and we missed two chances at the end but that is what happens when a team is losing, they send players forward. We had chances at the end, we had consistent moments towards the end of the game.”
Apart from a minor incident between Wilfried Zaha and Ezequiel Schelotto in the first half, the derby was largely contested in good spirits, with Hodgson pleased that nothing boiled over.
“[Zaha’s] discipline was good today, it was a minor incident, but in a game of this importance and dimension it happens and the importance of the match for both sets of fans is massive. People don’t think it’s a derby but to the fans it is.
“I thought the game was played in the right spirit and we had one of the best referees in the country, so if anything happened Martin [Atkinson] was there straight away to deal with it.”
Palace are now closer to the top four than they are the relegation zone, of which they are 11 points clear, but Hodgson does not think they are over the line just yet.
However, the former England manager is starting to see light at the end of the tunnel.
“You can never say never, it’s good to get back to back wins and we’ve got two important games coming up. If they go well, we can kiss relegation goodbye.
“We’ve got players coming back from injury so suddenly my squad looks different, whereas earlier in the season we needed all hands in deck.”