Roy Hodgson admitted he feared Crystal Palace’s missed chances against Burnley would come back to haunt his side.
Palace earned their first home win of the season following a 2-0 victory at Selhurst Park on Saturday.
The home side dominated from start-to-finish. James McArthur opened the scoring after 16 minutes with Palace’s first goal from open play at Selhurst Park this season.
But despite seeing his side create chance-after-chance, Hodgson had to wait until the 78th minute before the result was finally put out of Burnley’s reach, Andros Townsend scoring Palace’s second of the afternoon with an unstoppable shot.
The result ended Palace’s eight-match winless run, and provides them with breathing space from the bottom three.
“I was concerned, but only because of where we are in the Premier League, and the team’s performances this season have not got the results they have merited,” said Hodgson.
“This was an important game that we needed to win, even if it was by hook or by crook.
“But, as it turned out, we didn’t get the three points that way, but because we were clearly the better side.
“It feels good because it has been a long time coming, and only a curmudgeon person would deny Crystal Palace the right to have won this game.”
Hodgson kept faith with the side that secured a deserved point at Manchester United last weekend, and they rewarded him with a commanding display.
McArthur’s cross-shot after 16 minutes provided the hosts with an early advantage, and they could have scored at least five goals – with Joe Hart making three fine saves and Wilfried Zaha hitting the crossbar – before Townsend’s spectacular strike in the closing stages.
Townsend latched on to Cheikhou Kouyate’s lofted ball forward into the right channel, and then cut inside on his left foot, bending an unbeatable curling shot past a despairing Hart.
“Andros has got that in his locker, so it is no surprise to me,” added Hodgson. “I expect him to produce that level of shot.
“We have seen that move and shot fail to succeed many times before because the ball has either gone wide or over the crossbar or the goalkeeper has made an excellent save, but today the shot was so good Joe Hart cannot be blamed in any way.”
While Hodgson will hope the victory provides a turning point in Palace’s season, Burnley, who finished seventh last term, appear a team devoid of confidence and facing up to the prospect of a relegation scrap.
“The better side won,” Burnley manager Sean Dyche said. “When fear comes into performances, it is like losing the eye of the tiger.
“We haven’t lost it, but we have softened. When you do that, it is like being a good boxer, it happens and you need to work out how to get it back.
“Usually you do that by getting back in the gym, and working hard, so that is what we are going to have to do.”