Roy Hodgson has revealed that striker Christian Benteke told his team-mates he would make up for costing them victory against Bournemouth last weekend.
The striker missed a last-minute penalty in the 2-2 draw with the Cherries at Selhurst Park. Benteke took it upon himself to take the late spot-kick which could have secured a vital three points, but he saw his effort kept out by Asmir Begovic, a fact made worse by designated spot-kick taker Luka Milivojevic having converted a penalty earlier on in the game and still being on the pitch at the time. The Belgian came up trumps on Saturday as Palace surged past Leicester City with a 3-0 win at the King Power Stadium.
Benteke opened the scoring with a header, his first goal since May, before laying on the second goal for Wilfried Zaha. Hodgson had warned Benteke this week that his team-mates could ill-afford to “carry” a misfiring goalscorer in their midst. Now the former England boss has revealed that Benteke made a promise to his teammates after the mishap against Bournemouth.
“[Benteke] was very strong. The day after [Benteke’s penalty miss] he came in and held his hand up, he spoke to the players and myself and made the point that he would make it up to team, and that is what he has done,” he said. Hodgson took control with Palace without a goal or a point from their opening five league matches, but his side are now eight games unbeaten and out of the relegation zone, much to his pleasing. “We did feel a bit marooned [at the bottom of the table], there was a time when we were looking up at everyone above us and the gap was massive,” he added.
“But since then we have started playing the way we have over the past few games, and if we can produce performances like this all the way until May, at least we will have given ourselves a chance.”
Crystal Palace are 2.63 to win next weekend away at Swansea, who are 2.80 while the draw is 3.20.