Roy Hodgson admitted that Palace's relegation worries are all-but over after his side hammered Leicester City 5-0 at Selhurst Park.
The Eagles ran out convincing winners against the Foxes with strikes from Wilfried Zaha, James McArthur, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Patrick van Aanholt and Christian Benteke ensuring the club claimed its biggest ever Premier League win, a division Hodgson believes they now look set to remain in for a sixth successive season after reaching 38 points, a tally he believes will be enough.
Speaking in his post-match press conference, he spoke about a number of issues, including:
Safety achieved?: “Miracles do happen and we’re probably on the cusp of one ourselves, but I’ve been on the receiving end of one in the past so it’s dangerous to think we can relax now. On the other hand, managers constantly harp on about mathematical possibility because it would take so many things to happen.
“It’s not just a question of whether Southampton can get the points they need, it’s also about the other teams below us getting what they need. Swansea also have to play Stoke and Southampton so they can’t all win, and they’re below us at the moment. You’d need to be Billy Beane to work out all the mathematical possibilities!
“I’ve always thought that 36 points with a good goal difference would give us a good chance of staying up. 38 with a good goal difference should be OK. The goal difference gives me enormous satisfaction because we have -13 and we were -17 after seven games, so out of the teams in the bottom half, we have a positive goal difference over the last 29 games.”
Importance of the result: “The important thing about today is that the pressure was on us. We’ve been playing quite well lately and we needed to make certain that was transformed into a result that gained points. Today we made certain that the quality of the performance led to goals and we defended our lead well, and that was very satisfying.”
Achievement of staying up: “It’s a great tribute to the players’ character and mental strength. Many a team given the situation we’ve had might have given up where we’ve not had a lot of luck in the last minutes of games, and the enormous amount of injures we’ve had.
“Ruben Loftus-Cheek was absolutely outstanding today, alongside one or two other players, and we’ve missed him for four months of the season which is a long time. We’ve had Benteke and Zaha out for two long periods, so for the players not to use that as an excuse and not think that the odds are stacked against us or that fate is not on our side, gives me the most satisfaction.”
Benteke penalty: “The coaching staff put the idea that it might be a good idea [for him to take it], but Luka was the one who finally took the decision, because if he had said no then he would have taken it. The proposal came from us, but Luka made the decision.”
Working off the ball: “It comes from the training ground and the characters of the players concerned to take on board the messages we try to put out. Right from the offset, our philosophy about how we wanted the game to be played hasn’t varied, even during the first three matches or those periods where we have suffered setbacks. I’m very happy the players have bought into that, and today not one player was not prepared to run back.
“If we stay up in this league, and I believe we will, we will owe a massive debt to the character and belief of the players, plus we have some good footballers out there as well. If you get both of those things right, you have a chance.”
Sharing credit: “I am very proud of the work that’s been done at this club since September. I want to share the pride and the accolades that might be going with the players, but also with my coaching staff. Ray Lewington, Steven Reid and Dean Kiely - and Martyn Margetson before him - have done a fantastic job and we have been very solid as a team behind the team.
“There’s been no division, no questions and no suggestions that the principles are not the right ones, and that’s good because the players can’t find a way through me. When things aren’t going well, they come up against a solid block of people who say this is how it’s got to be done."