Crystal Palace forward Jean-Philippe Mateta highlights shift in mentality Roy Hodgson has already installed
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Mateta scored only his second league goal of the campaign minutes after coming on, but reveals the ‘freedom’ the appointment of Roy Hodgson has already brought since replacing Patrick Vieira has been refreshing for everyone.
He told reporters after the game at Selhurst: “He gives us a little bit of freedom to do what you can do. The club is very happy and he’s a good manager.”
Against Leicester, Palace showed a resilience and toughness that had not been seen in Vieira’s last days as boss, going behind and responding emphatically to take all three points.
The architect of the winner was often maligned forward Jordan Ayew who epitomised the hard-working spirit of Palace by picking the ball around the centre line, going past two players before threading a pass to substitute Mateta, the French forward then reminded everyone why he was first signed with a world class first touch to reduce the speed of the ball before confidently finishing off to bag all three points.
Asked to talk through the goal, Mateta added: “When I saw Jordan with the ball, I knew he would be looking for me and give me the ball.
“I saw the ball was very hard, but I made a good touch and finished this one. I work very hard for this one. I didn’t score for a long time, but I finally did today. I’m very happy.”
The late win was the perfect way for Palace to record their first league victory of the year and get everyone pulling in the same direction after the sacking of Patrick Vieira just before the international break.