Roy Hodgson gave a glimpse into Crystal Palace’s ambitions for the season after they beat Fulham to ensure they will end Saturday in the Premier League top six.
Palace claimed their first win in four matches – their last victory having been over Manchester United – to climb into fifth place. They will stay there if United can beat Chelsea.
Goals from Jairo Riedewald and Wilfried Zaha gave Palace a 2-1 win away at Craven Cottage to give them their first victory of October after drawing with Brighton last week.
And Hodgson knows the importance of Zaha all too well. After asking the forward for more, Hodgson got an emphatic response from his player.
He said: “Once again, every press conference begins with Zaha in one way or another and if I’m not careful I’ll have to explain to him why I’m giving negative comments.
“It’s quite a common occurrence for me to praise Wilf Zaha, that’s his fifth goal and an assist as well.
“We’re more than happy with him.”
Palace are now above the likes of Manchester City in the table, but Hodgson insists he will only be looking at who they have done better than when the season ends.
“Last week we were looking at relegation, this week we’re Champions League.
“We need to look to avoid conceding goals late on. But basically speaking we’re more than happy with 10 points from six games.
“League positions after six games aren’t important. There’s going to be so many twists and turns.
“We’re ahead of Manchester City but that doesn’t interest me. I’d like to be ahead of them at the end of the season.”
Asked what the difference was between this season and the last one, Hodgson pointed towards the depth he now has at his disposal.
“We’ve got a stronger squad,” he insisted. “Looking at the bench today there are some players being kept out.
“Team discipline and work rate is also extremely important.
“When our attacking isn’t as good as today we can still stay in the game.”
Hodgson thinks Fulham can ask questions
As for their opponents Fulham, whom Hodgson used to manage himself, it is now six games without a win since their return to the top flight.
However, Hodgson predicts that his former employers will come good again – and was glad that his current team knew how to get the better of them.
“I saw enough from them, especially in the first half,” he said of Fulham. “They moved the ball well.
“Not a lot of clear opportunities other than the one that hit the post.
“But I saw enough in their general pattern of play to show that they’ll ask a lot of defences question.
“Happy that we answered those and did enough to get the goals that won us the game.”