Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson said the Premier League club’s improved squad depth and discipline were key factors in their strong start to the campaign.
Palace winger Wilfried Zaha scored a goal and set up another as they sealed a 2-1 win over bottom side Fulham on Saturday, climbing to fifth in the table with 10 points from six games.
They began the match with experienced defenders Patrick van Aanholt and Mamadou Sakho on the bench, as well as new signing Eberechi Eze, with the trio coming on in the second half.
“We’ve got a stronger squad. Looking at the bench, there were some good players that had been kept out by the fact we had a good start. The guys who got in… have managed to keep their places,” Hodgson told the club’s website.
“I think the team discipline, organisation and work rate is 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’s best start at this stage of a campaign since returning to the Premier League in 2013-14 has left Hodgson delighted, but the veteran manager said the team cannot get carried away.
“People tell me: ‘You’re ahead of Manchester City at the moment,’ but that doesn’t interest me. I’d like to be ahead of them at the end of the season but that’s another matter,” Hodgson added.
Palace next take on ninth-placed Wolverhampton Wanderers in the league on Friday.