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Eagle Sako steals the show against Burnley

WINNER: Bakary Sako

CRYSTAL PALACE manager Roy Hogdson was full of praise for Bakary Sako who got the only goal in their narrow 1-0 win over Burnley that continued Palace’s move up the Premier League table and away to safety from relegation.

Palace have now lost just once in their past 12 league games. The manager said: “It was a massive three points today make no mistake about it and we got them. We were able to withstand this test.

They are a strong team. It was an even bigger test with the injuries. We are looking to survive. We think every time we get three points were are getting close.”

On Sako he said: “That is three goals in three games and you cannot ask for more than that. He must be pleased with himself. We are delighted with his goals.

“He has come good this season and for himself. Before this season he spent a lot of time on the bench. He has done very well for us recently. He was certainly in the team on merit today and on the merit of his last performances.

“I thought his first half performance was good and in the second half he and Benteke worked very hard to try and disturb their centre halves and limit the long balls that were flying into our centre halves. If they continue with their work rate we are going to ask questions of opposing defenders.”

Sako’s contract is coming to an end and the manager was asked if the club were concerned. He added: “To be honest those matters with contracts are being dealt with all the time.

“Our sporting director has very clear view of that situation. Steve Parish is very much involved as well and they involve me. You have to be careful with contracts.

“People have to be certain that the Sako that I see and enjoy working with is doing so well and the Bakary Sako that they did not recognise or know in previous years.

“I think at the moment it is obvious that Bakary can sit back and await quite confidently at what he can do in the next month knowing full well that if he can play like he is doing at the moment he is going to get a new contract without a shadow of doubt.”

Hodgson also reserved some praise for two of his young defenders. “To be fair we know that Tim Fosu-Mensah and Patrick Van Aanholt are real quality players.

“They are still gaining experience. Patrick hasn’t played many games and he has felt under pressure when has come in because he has not had an opportunity to play all the games before.

“I am almost certain both would go home confident about themselves, about their performances today and knowing we the coaching staff are really appreciative of what they have done.”

Palace have now moved up to 12th in the table and their next league game is away to Arsenal at the Emirates.

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