Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson admits he has been surprised by the quick turnaround in performances since he took charge.
Hodgson was appointed as Frank de Boer’s successor on September 12 with the club rock bottom of the Premier League and without a win from their opening four games.
The 70-year-old failed to improve their fortunes immediately and oversaw three successive defeats with Palace failing to register a single goal.
However, the Eagles have improved towards the end of 2017 with Hodgson getting a more positive tune out of his troops.
Palace, who are priced at 4.50 to be relegated, have taken 18 points from 12 games since the slow start under Hodgson and they now sit in 16th place with a two point cushion to the bottom three.
The former England boss admits he has been surprised by the speed of Palace’s revival as they extended their longest unbeaten run in the Premier League to eight games with a 1-1 draw at Swansea on Saturday.
Hodgson admits there is still a long way to go but is feeling positive about their chances of beating the drop this season.
“We’re trying to chip away at those first seven games when we had zero points,” Hodgson said.
“It’s an enormous handicap to give yourself and have a big minus goal difference as well.
“We needed big performances to get on an even keel, and that’s what we’ve done in the last two or three months.
“We’ve brought ourselves into a pack of teams who have to look over their shoulders and be worried that the spectre of relegation is not leading them.
“I expected it to take a lot longer to get ourselves into contention to the other teams.
“But we know there’s an awful long way to go and that it’s going to be a fight for every point until the end of the season.”