Benteke made the difference, hails Hodgson
Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson praised Christian Benteke after the striker's influential performance in a 2-1 comeback victory over Stoke City.
Benteke, who recently recovered from a knee injury, was introduced as a second-half substitute shortly before Palace fell behind to a fine solo goal by Stoke's Xherdan Shaqiri.
The Belgian was involved in Palace's equaliser two minutes later, providing a knock-down to Andros Townsend, who crossed for Ruben Loftus-Cheek to equalise.
The comeback was completed by club captain Mamadou Sakho, who scored an injury-time tap-in to clinch Palace's second Premier League win of the season, and Hodgson said Benteke's involvement was an important factor.
"We played a bit quicker in the second half," Hodgson told BBC Sport. "Christian Benteke's participation helped us there, providing a focal point. We kept the ball in the final third better once Christian came on.
"We've had some joy with Wilf [Zaha] and Andros [Townsend] operating as inside left and inside right forwards, but now we have Christian back it's another option for us.
"If you fight to the end you've always got a bit of a chance to do that. We did show some fighting spirit."
Palace went into the game on the back of a pair of 2-2 draws, against West Ham and Everton, either side of a 1-0 defeat at Tottenham.
Hodgson did not feel the performance against Stoke was necessarily a marked improvement, instead suggesting his side got the rub of the green.
"I thought it was a very even game to be honest," he said. "We've actually played better in a couple of games where we got draws and maybe we were just hoping that one day something like this would happen.
"It was a strange game in the sense that both teams were in control defensively.
"Neither team had too many clear-cut chances. Fortunately we got the rewards from two good crosses.
"We've got to keep working, keep doing what we're doing and most importantly not slip below the standard we've set ourselves."
— Crystal Palace F.C. (@CPFC) November 25, 2017
Stoke boss Mark Hughes saw his side concede two goals for the third game in a row, and lamented the end of their three-match unbeaten run in the Premier League.
"It's a game we shouldn’t have lost after a good goal from Shaqiri," he said. "Our defending has been poor the last couple of games and that is hurting us at the moment.
"You have to deal with balls in the box, we didn't do that well enough and that's disappointing. It's a game we felt we could win, we played well, but it's about fundamental defending and we haven't done that."