James Tomkins 23rd minute goal at Huddersfield Town on Saturday afternoon set Palace on their way to victory as they came up against a side just four points ahead of them, the win moved the Eagles out of the bottom three and closed the gap on the home side.
“When you play teams around you they are massive games and they are six pointers really so it shows how important it was today, we are out of the drop zone but certainly not safe yet," said Tomkins as he reflected on an important win on the road.
“One of our main game plans was to get at them from the first minute to try and keep the crowd quiet you have a chance as it's not an easy place to come and play especially in the conditions we played in today. Hopefully we can now move on from this victory in a positive frame of mind.”
The home side didn’t register a shot until after an hour of the game and Tomkins put that down to Palace’s defensive plan working after good preparation on the training ground.
“That shows what a good shape we had and it’s not just about the goalkeeper and the back four, its about the whole team and our shape was difficult to break through and our defensive shape is something we have been working on in training so it’s good to see us put in that type of performance today.”
The defender’s goal came from a set piece as Roy Hodgson’s side got the perfect start to the afternoon and he was delighted that the side were able to go through the crucial game at the bottom of the table to come away with maximum points.
“It was at the second attempt, it fell nicely on the rebound so I managed to capitalise on it, there was still a long way to go when you go 1-0 up early on and it was important that we kept our defensive shape and defend well and get to half time and see where that goal leads. It was always going to be hard second half but we rode the storm and managed to get a second.”
The celebrations for the opening goal were in front of the 2000 travelling support from south London and Tomkins was pleased to share the joy with the fans.
“It’s always nice to score in front of your fans and they obviously appreciate how big a goal that was and it's nice a defender can chip in every now and again and even more so as it helps us get an important three points.”
This victory saw both Wilfried Zaha and Mamadou Sakho start they game as they were two of the players to return from injury and the Eagles defender believes they will be vital in the closing weeks of the campaign.
“It’s massive, we have had Wilf back ahead of schedule and it was great to see him come on against Chelsea last week and shows how important he is to the team but we also have a lot of players coming back and the squad will look a lot better and stronger. “
Hodgson’s side have now reached 30 points and this victory takes them two places above the relegation zone but the 28 year old doesn’t feel that the squad should get carried away as some important games are still ahead in the final seven matches.
“It is still such a long way to go and there will be changes up until the end of the season so we are certainly not getting carried away after this victory with so many games to go and tough ones at that, we need to take this result as a nice boost for us going forward.
“There are no easy games in the Premier League, I am experienced enough to know that and when you play teams around you they are the massive ones and every team has got positions to play for so it is going to be tough right through until the end of the season.”
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