Roy Hodgson felt Crystal Palace’s performance against West Ham meant they deserved to be on the right side of two close calls in their 2-1 win at London Stadium yesterday.
Palace came from behind to win, first through a penalty converted by Patrick van Aanholt when Declan Rice was adjudged to have handled the ball inside the penalty area, then, dramatically, when VAR overturned an offside decision against Jordan Ayew for the winner with three minutes left.
Hodgson said his team’s performance over the 90 minutes “meant that we didn’t need to apologise to anyone”.
He added: “VAR is what it is. I can understand the manager who has suffered the decision as it were, because it was unbelievably close.
“That’s pretty obvious, it took so long for the screen to show whether the linesman was right or wrong. On this occasion we came out on the right side of it.
“My major disappointment will be that’s what you’re going to write about. I would prefer if you would write about the quality of our performance, that would have given me more encouragement.”
Hodgson was delighted with the win, which came as no surprise to seasoned Palace watchers – the Eagles have won on the grounds of all the big six in recent seasons and more than matched the Hammers in this win.
The former England manager said: “I thought we subdued them through the bulk of the game, really. The chances were fairly even on both sides, but certainly we had a lot of possession as did they for periods of time. It was a good quality game of football which you expect when there are so many good players on the field.
“For us to come away and win here, a ground where we don't win very often and break that hoodoo that has been hanging over Crystal Palace and certainly hanging over me, that's a good day in my footballing life.
“It's a victory that the players deserve and they worked hard for it against a good West Ham team. We didn't win because West Ham were bad, we won because we were lucky enough to get the decisions but also good enough to give the quality of performance we gave.”
Palace’s win moved them into the top four – at least until Arsenal face Bournemouth at the Emirates this afternoon, but Hodgson refused to get carried away with thoughts of European football at Selhurt Park next year.
He said: “The question is how many points are we going to be behind (the top sides) after 19 games. I still fully believe in a championship being a marathon race. It's nice to start reasonably well and even be up with the front runners, but you know full well you've got to keep up that pace.
“One of the things we don’t have is a big squad and in certain areas of our squad we are quite weak in terms of our ability to make substitutions or replace people.
“If we can keep our heads above water and get to the January transfer window I'm hoping we can do something about that and at least give ourselves a chance in the latter half of the season.”