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CRYSTAL PALACE finished last season in 11th position after losing and failing to score in their opening seven games of the season. Roy Hodgson knew better than anyone how imperative it was to get points on the board from the off and did just that yesterday with a 2-0 victory over Fulham.
“We didn’t start the game well but that was largely due to the fact Fulham did. They started at a high tempo, moved the ball quickly and made it very difficult to play the ball into midfield as we would like,” said the Palace boss.
“You get these questions all the time [how important it is to get off to a good start]. The obvious answer is it’s important, everyone wants it.”
Fulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic on the other hand, while disappointed with the result, stressed it will take time for his new signings to gel.
“We played against a Premier League team, they know how they want to play … [Christian] Benteke, [Wilfried] Zaha and [Andros] Townsend too, made some kind of difference,” said the Serbian coach.
“I am confident that after only working two days with these players, I trust we can play better football than we did today … we will adapt ourselves from the level which we’re working at right now.”
Palace showed some nous and did not force their chances. This was evident when patient build-up between Townsend and Patrick van Aanholt saw the Dutchman pick out Jeffrey Schlupp, who blasted home from six yards.
The timing of the goal gave Palace a much needed lift before the interval and they nearly doubled their lead when Benteke headed onto the bar following Townsend’s cross.
The visitors came out strongly after the break with Zaha showing signs of why his employers have slapped such a hefty transfer fee over his head this summer.
The Ivorian tested Fabri with a half-volley which was well-saved by the Spaniard. Yet, only a quarter of an hour later and the debutant was picking the ball out of his net once again.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s terrific work to hold off the not-so-slight Aleksandar Mitrovic was bettered only by a slide-through pass for Zaha — who this time made no mistake with the finish to seal the three points for the south Londoners.
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