Palace manager Roy Hodgson has praised front-man Jordan Ayew today after the Eagles ran to victory over Aston Villa thanks to the Ghanaian’s 73rd-minute strike, his second goal from two consecutive league games.
Hodgson addressed the striker’s role in the match beyond his goal and also offered an explanation as to why and when the 27-year-old was substituted.
On Ayew’s talent and commitment, the manager said: “Had he not scored the goal today, I would still be heaping praise on him because of the work he does for us, his tactical understanding, the number of times he does the job we want tactically to help other players take up the positions they need to take up. I’m not just talking attacking-wise, I’m talking defending too.
“When he puts icing on that cake by scoring a goal last week and a goal this week, then it’s happy days – there’s no doubt about that. It’s in particular happy days for him and it’s happy days he deserves. Last season, he didn’t get as many opportunities as he would like to have had.
“There were many times he found himself on the bench as a substitute and wasn’t even getting onto the field of play but never once did he stop working hard in training. Never once did he stop trying to do the right things in training. Players like that, when their moment arrives, as a coach you feel really happy for them.”
Turning his attention to Ayew’s substitution, which saw fellow striker Christian Benteke lead the attacking line from the 86th minute – Hodgson explained: “He [Ayew] was tired of course, as he was bound to be with that work-rate and amount of work he puts in, the distance he covers, the high speed running. We obviously were thinking at 0-0, ‘right, we might need to replace him here. Give Christian Benteke 10 minutes with fresh legs.’
“Also we were getting lots of corner kicks and free kicks and thinking ‘there, another big guy in the box who might get his head on these corner kicks or wide free kicks.’ So we still made the change. We just didn’t do it immediately after he scored because that would be a foolish thing to do tactically – when someone scores a goal and your next move is to take him off. I don’t think the fans would have been too pleased about that.”