Roy Hodgson was bursting with pride after Crystal Palace secured their Premier League status for another season, following a comeback 2-1 victory over Stoke City on Saturday.
Second half goals from James McArthur and Patrick van Aanholt cancelled out Xherdan Shaqiri’s stunning opener to relegate the Potters to the Championship for the first time in 10-years.
The three points ensured the Eagles are now mathematically safe despite having lost the first seven games without a goal being scored, the first four in which saw Frank De Boer’s early departure from the club.
Hodgson soon steadied the creaking ship to help guide the club to 11th place in the table, an incredible feat the former England manager himself still cannot believe.
“After seven games, or after 11 games with four points, I never saw it coming,” Hodgson told BBC following the game, as quoted by the Evening Standard.
“I was hoping it would be a low-scoring year in terms of points for the lower sides and we’d just scrape over the line.
“But we came here, basically safe, I couldn’t see us going down with 38 points, so I think it was a great show of character from us to come here and play really well.
“It’s probably the thing I’m most proud of, it’s not easy having that euphoria from last week, and then come to a place like this where they’re fighting for their lives and put on a performance like we did. I would have been disappointed if we hadn’t got the win following the performance we put in.”
While the victory at bet365 Stadium validated Hodgson and his teams’ work, the 70-year-old was however left feeling subdued having had to watch Paul Lambert’s side lose their fight against relegation.
He added: “Paul Lambert’s said come and have a drink with us, but it’s a hard one because you don’t know what to say.
“So, I feel a lot of empathy for Stoke today, because I don’t think they could have done anymore, they came up against a team who weren’t willing to lie down, who put in a top, top performance.”