Roy Hodgson praised Crystal Palace’s defensive effort as they struck late to sink Brighton at Amex on Monday night.
Substitute Christian Benteke hit home a dramatic late volley as Palace clinched a 2-1 victory over bitter rivals Brighton.
The Belgian striker slammed into Andros Townsend’s center in the fifth minute of extra time to put Palace back to victories after successive defeats which had led to growing fan unrest.
Brighton dominated debates at Amex Stadium and equalized Joel Veltman after the Eagles led at halftime thanks to a stunning back heel ended by French striker Jean-Philippe Mateta.
Palace showed little ambition for much of the game and once again struggled to create in the absence of injured talisman Wilfried Zaha, with the two superb goals being their only attempts on target.
Still, Eagles manager Hodgson was more than happy with a result that puts his team 10 points above the relegation zone.
He said TBEN Sport after the match: “It’s always great to score at the last minute, especially when you had to absorb a lot of pressure.
“The defense was very good, they threw their bodies over the line. We worked hard to make sure they didn’t have a lot of sights on goal. We haven’t created as many chances as we would like. The two that we created from crosses were goals.
“It was important tonight because we weren’t happy with our defense recently. We thought we were not meeting our high standards.
“Tonight, from the start, we showed that we would make it difficult for them to score. The bodies were there, the headers were there, the blocks were there. We made the most of the counterattack.
“But we’ve had games like this ourselves – against Brighton, against Newcastle. It’s nice to know the old saying about things tonight they have tonight.
“We’re so addicted to statistics these days. The game is decided by the goals. Goals are a matter of how well you take your chances and defend theirs.
“Until there are prizes for corners and touches in the box, it is very important to keep in mind that the results are confirmed by the goals you score and the goals you don’t concede. not. I don’t get any satisfaction when we lose and have more corners or keys in their box.
“[The opener was a] very good goal. Both goals were magnificent bursts from Jordan Ayew. Christian missed goals, he shows up at the last minute. I’m happy for both. It’s good for the future. We will need combat performance like this. We’re not Man City, we can’t run the teams.
“Brighton are a well-trained team. I’m sure they would say they didn’t get the result they deserved.
Benteke talks about a ‘massive result’
Matchwinner Benteke added: “It’s a huge result. We know we are playing a derby against a very good team.
“It wasn’t easy, they managed to get back into the game in the second half.
“We put our lives on the pitch, tried to defend as much as we could and I was lucky enough to score a great goal.
“Today it was about three points, it was not easy but we got them. The plan was to be compact, we got too open and we changed our tactics.
“We have a lot of good players up front but I know my strengths, my qualities, it was about being ready when the blunderer needs me.