Roy Hodgson was delighted to witness a “typical Crystal Palace performance” after they fought back to beat Aston Villa 3-2 with Tyrick Mitchell the unlikely hero at Selhurst Park.
First-half goals from John McGinn and Anwar El Ghazi put the visitors on course for victory despite Christian Benteke briefly restoring parity, but the Eagles produced an excellent response after the break.
Wilfried Zaha’s deflected effort with 14 minutes left levelled proceedings before Mitchell bundled home his first ever goal in the 84th minute.
It could turn out to be the final victory of Hodgson’s reign, with the long-serving boss out of contract in the summer and no new deal at Selhurst Park forthcoming so far.
“For me that was a throwback to so many matches I have seen here over the last four years,” the 73-year-old said.
“Our second-half performance was what I would call a typical Crystal Palace performance. The first half wasn’t that good, but when we went behind again we didn’t accept that.
“We made certain from the offset in the second half we would get back in the game and after getting back into it at 2-2, we didn’t stop and went for the winner so it was a really satisfying moment for the players and they should be very proud of the way they have worked.”
Mitchell’s late winner capped a memorable afternoon for the full-back, who also created Benteke’s opener which was the Belgian’s ninth goal of the season and the third game in a row he had scored.
Hodgson added: “A great day for Tyrick and very much appreciated by his team-mates, who gave him a rousing round of applause when he came in after he finished talking to the media.
“It is a wonderful moment for a player who has a very bright future and I am hoping to see him go on to have a very good Premier League career.”
Behind Mitchell was Jack Butland, who started in the top flight for the first time in three years and made two key saves on only his second appearance for the club since an October switch from Stoke.
“I thought he was very good,” Hodgson said of the former England goalkeeper who lost form in the Sky Bet Championship.
“It is nice to know the faith we all have in Jack, because we think he is good enough to play for any Premier League team, was justified today and great for him because he has had to wait a long time for this opportunity.”
Villa boss Dean Smith was left frustrated at the failure of his team to capitalise on a strong position at half-time. Not even the 64th-minute arrival of captain Jack Grealish could turn around a sluggish display after the break.
“I’m bitterly disappointed and annoyed as well,” Smith admitted. “The players are annoyed and frustrated too because they all feel it is a game we should have won.”
Full-back Matty Cash will miss Villa’s final two matches of the season with a hamstring injury, but Tyrone Mings should return for Wednesday’s clash with Spurs.
On Grealish, Smith added: “Will he be fit enough for the Euros? Yes, but I don’t pick the squad.”