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Hodgson praises 'fantastic' Benteke among Palace side 'deserving credit'

21 April 2019

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson today oversaw one of the finest results of the Eagles' season as the south London club recorded a remarkable 3-1 victory over an Arsenal side who hadn't lost at home in the league since August 2018.

He entered the press conference following the victory to readily praise his squad, but when asked about one player in particular, found plenty of time to express his satisfaction with Christian Benteke's performance.

Hodgson was asked if Benteke's opening goal - a strong finish with his head from close range - will have lifted a weight from his shoulders and the manager conceded that, yes, it would, but that the Belgian can be prouder with far more than just netting.

He said: "I think he's more than just a goalscorer, his all-round performance today was fantastic. If he had played that way and someone else had scored the goal I wouldn't be saying we should berate him in any way for not scoring.

"It is good I agree, front players need goals and of course I'm sure it is a weight off his mind but the biggest weight off his mind must be that in tandem with Wilf today he gave such a good performance. Not only going forward, he did a good job defensively - both did - and our compact, narrow shape was also largely or certainly in part due to the fact that they dropped in so well and made it difficult for the Arsenal midfield players to get on the ball."

Hodgson didn't stop at Benteke, though, turning his attention to the entire Palace side and voicing praise for the team performance and well-earned victory. Perhaps fairly, however, his words did lead back to the fine frontmen he handed starts to this afternoon.

"It was a very satisfying performance," he said. "Even a draw's a result but to come and get a victory you have to give a really good performance. Your defending is going to have to be top-notch right through until the 95-96th minute and then you've got to make certain that when you do get the ball, you've got to hope that your two front players do what our two did today.

"I thought they were really, really good and I thought we were good value for our three goals because we carried that threat I thought with the two front players. The midfield four and the back four were excellent at staying compact, staying narrow and we were able to reduce the clear-cut chances they were able to create.

"The Crystal Palace team today deserves an awful lot of credit today for winning against that team."

For full post-match reaction and free highlights, make sure to keep an eye on Palace TV either by clicking here or 'Palace TV' in the official Palace app.

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