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Roy Hodgson believes competition for places is helping Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace v Brighton and Hove Albion – Premier League – Selhurst Park
(Image credit: Adrian Dennis)

Roy Hodgson believes Crystal Palace’s impressive start to the season is down to a competitive squad.

Palace beat Fulham 2-1 at Craven Cottage on Saturday to move up to fifth, with 10 points from their opening six games.

It is a transformation from the side that limped over the line at the back end of last season and Hodgson is pleased with the options he has available.

“We’ve got a stronger squad,” he said. “There’s no question of that.

“Looking at the bench there were some good players that had been kept out by the fact we had a good start and the guys who got in, for one reason or another, have managed to keep their places.

“That’s a major factor without a shadow of a doubt.

“I think the team discipline, organisation and work-rate is also extremely important. Even on days when our passing and attacking play isn’t quite as good as it was today we still stay in games and give ourselves a chance of getting some points.

“And I think the team spirit is very good – the guys know what they’ve got to do to climb up the table and they’re all determined I think to do that.”

Palace were more clinical than their hosts, scoring with their first attack through Jairo Riedewald and then Wilfried Zaha bagged his fifth goal of the season in the second half.

Fulham, who had Aboubakar Kamara sent off, were competitive in the game but only had Tom Cairney’s late goal to show for their efforts.

They have just one point from their opening six matches and a relegation fight is looming, with next Monday’s clash with West Brom taking on extra significance.

“It’s going to be a massive game for us but Palace was a massive game too,” boss Scott Parker said.

“We need to learn from the mistakes, but we need to do that every game.

“The next game is huge for us but it’s only as big as what the other ones have been.”