Benteke winning over Palace fans after penalty nightmare - Hodgson
Christian Benteke is winning back the faith of Crystal Palace fans after scoring the opener in Saturday's 3-0 Premier League win against Leicester City, according to manager Roy Hodgson.
Benteke attracted criticism after insisting on taking a last-minute penalty against Bournemouth last weekend, missing from the spot and costing his side a valuable two points in a 2-2 draw.
But the Belgium international was key to Palace's stunning victory at the King Power Stadium, heading Hodgson's men in front before providing the assist for Wilfried Zaha to score the second.
"His goal will do a lot. It’ll do a lot for the crowd," Hodgson told Sky Sports.
Benteke gives the Eagles a 1-0 lead after 17 mins.
— Crystal Palace F.C. (@CPFC) 16 December 2017
"They appreciate the goals but they appreciate the work-rate as well. He worked hard today and they got behind him and were singing his name.
"After missing the penalty he got - perhaps rightly - some stick, but today the fans turned quickly and got back behind him. That was fully deserved."
One point of frustration for Hodgson was a booking for Benteke that will rule the striker out of next weekend's huge clash with fellow strugglers Swansea City.
"He was our only booking today and we’ve not been blessed with how the cards have fallen," the former England boss commented.
"What I really don't understand is how Benteke, who doesn't do much wrong and hardly fouls anyone - he's quite a gentle giant - manages to get five yellow cards. I think he had three before I came here, so I’d like to know how he got them!"
Hodgson added: "The only disappointment is that we can only enjoy this victory for a short while. If we don't win against Swansea we'll be disappointed again.
"I think what we've done so far is to extricate ourselves from that situation we were in - seven defeats from seven games.
"That was a bleak situation, but the 11 games since then have shown that we can get points and we've at least established parity with the teams around us. That was our goal before Christmas, to give ourselves a chance of staying in the league."
Leicester boss Claude Puel, meanwhile, conceded Palace deserved the full three points.
"A lot of things were missing today, it was not a good day for us," he said. "From kick-off, we did not have good intensity and could not find a solution.
"Our play was too slow against a good team with a strong defensive unit and we needed more quickness and quality in the play.
"Palace deserve the result, they played with desire, togetherness and quality. We did not deserve a win."