The Eagles boss saw his side start slowly and slip behind just after half-time when Danny Ings struck, but after that James McArthur hit the crossbar, Wayne Hennessey saved a Charlie Austin penalty and Palace showered the Saints goal in shots, but Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s injury-time strike ended any hope of a point, which the Eagles manager magnanimously admitted they didn’t really deserve.
Speaking in his post-match press conference, he talked about a number of issues, including:
The performance: “I don’t think we played anywhere near enough well in the first 60 minutes of this game to merit the victory. I thought Southampton were better and we did not achieve the level of play we were looking for and capable of, but the words that can temper that statement is that we didn’t give up or accept that it wasn’t to be our day.
“After the penalty save we were livelier and we asked a lot of questions of their defence and goalkeeper, but they answered them very well and we had to suffer the indignity of the 95th minute goal when we’re sending everyone forward to equalise, and they break away and score the goal that kills the game off.
“You could argue that we could have got a draw, but I didn’t think we did enough over the course of the 90 minutes to merit that.”
Jordan Ayew: “He did very well because it was his first game and he came to us very late without a particularly strong pre-season, so I thought he worked really hard for his 65 minutes. The main reason for taking him off was because he was tiring which is understandable, and with fresh legs on the bench I thought it was the right moment to introduce players into the game.”
Zaha’s absence affect the squad?: “I think it’s a little farfetched to believe that. If we are to look at Ayew’s performance then most fair-minded people would say that he did a pretty good job, worked very hard and was a threat so I don’t think he was in any way an obvious weak link in our team.”
Christian Benteke: “He worked very hard again, got into the right areas and won a lot of headers, but on those three or four occasions where the ball fell kindly and you thought he would get it into the goal, but he found a very good McCarthy in front of him and he made the saves.
“I can’t fault him for effort or desire, and he’s certainly not hiding, but we’re still waiting for that happy day when he takes the monkey off his back.”