BY ROB SUTHERLAND
Roy Hodgson is delighted with the value Crystal Palace have gained from signing Jordan Ayew, following another goalscoring, game-winning performance from the Ghanaian striker.
Ayew is the Eagles’ top scorer with eight goals,.
And while the former Swansea man’s scoring exploits will get the plaudits this weekend, Hodgson is effusive about the other elements of his game.
He said: “He’s scored a large proportion of our goals and he’s still contributing to the team in so many other ways.
“His contribution without goals is enormous. That workrate, that desire, that constant thorn in the opposing team’s defence. And also when we lose the ball, he’s so quick to get back in position and help us out defensively which is something you need and it’s contributed to our last two clean sheets.”
There had been concern within the club, and the fanbase, that Ayew’s lack of goals the previous season would be a problem going into this season. But the former Swansea striker has become a real threat.
“We knew what he is, we knew what he could do,” said Hodgson. “But of course last year he didn’t score many goals, and that was something that bothered him and was a factor for us.
“Are we going to get the goals out of him that we need? And that’s what he’s started to do this year.”
Palace defeated Brighton with a goal that, at the point it was scored, went against the run of play. Hodgson was delighted that his tactics worked.
“They had a lot of the ball at the back. We forced them to play with the ball more in their own half of the field. We made it difficult for them to get the ball into the final third, which is where they wanted to be. We played the ball forward much earlier.
“But it was a much more even game [than the home fixture] but we established quite a lot of control throughout largely by defending so well.”
Palace are closer to safety thanks to their 36 points. Another win should secure safety for Hodgson’s side. They face relegation-battling Watford on Saturday March 7.
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