Clark and Sherwood look for Villa positives
Crystal Palace 2 Aston Villa 1
Ciaran Clark and Tim Sherwood tried to accentuate the positives after Aston Villa fell to a late debut goal from Bakary Sako.
"We were the better side first half. We had a lot of the ball," said Ireland defender Clark. "That was the plan. Second half it was a different story. They came out and were flying.
"They had a couple of chances and were putting us under a lot of pressure. We did really well to pull it back and with a couple of minutes to go it was just one of those things.
"We'll learn from that and we'll move on to the next game. That's all we can do."
Playmaker Jack Grealish returned for Villa and was bright in a much-changed side.
"It's good to have Jack back, he can unlock the door in behind from the midfield," added disappointed manager Sherwood after seeing Sako, a free transfer from Wolves, strike three minutes from time at Selhurst Park.
"I'm really happy to start here with that game, especially as I got the whole 90 minutes, we got the three points and I got one goal. It's a dream day for me - I'm buzzing," Sako said.
"I knew before the goal came that I was going to hit it so I was confident and very happy that it went in. Since I was young I've had a powerful left foot and that has helped me to score plenty of goals."
Scott Dann's opener was cancelled out by a Papa Souare own goal before Sako's late intervention, which stifled any debate surrounding another controversial offside decision, when Dwight Gayle had a strike ruled out after it ricocheted in off James McArthur.
Palace now play Shrewsbury in the League Cup before facing Chelsea next weekend. Villa will hope to bounce back from a second straight loss against Notts County in the League Cup before facing Sunderland in the league.