LONDON ( Associated Press) – Mission accomplished for Roy Hodgson.
The former England manager returned from retirement aged 75 in March and is tasked with ensuring Crystal Palace’s stay in the Premier League after the team slipped into the relegation zone after 13 games without a win.
Hodgson, one of football’s most respected and longtime managers, clearly retains his magic touch.
With Saturday’s 4-3 win against West Ham, Palace secured their fourth win in six games since the arrival of the manager. With this the team reached 40 points, the number that has long been associated with staying in the top division.
Palace will almost certainly remain in the top flight given their 11-point lead over the relegation zone.
“They took the sword out of my head, they took it out of the players too,” admitted Hodgson. “We’ll keep the sword away because we like to win.”
Unlike Patrick Viera’s painful last days in charge, Palace are scoring and this triumph comes after beating Leeds 5-1.
The goals he conceded against West Ham were all from corners, so the win could have been cleaner.
Brighton players have regained their smiles after beating Wolverhampton 6-0.
It’s been a tough day for the south coast club, who lost their FA Cup semi-final to Manchester United on penalties last weekend and lost in the league to Nottingham Forest three days later.
Brighton manager Roberto De Zerbi made changes and they worked for him. The team led 4-0 after 39 minutes and added two more after the break. Deniz Undav, Danny Welbeck and Pascal Gross had braces.
Brighton remain eighth, two points behind Tottenham, who are fifth, and are two games down. Finishing fifth or sixth would guarantee their place in Europa League qualification.
Nottingham Forest allowed four minutes of added time in a 2-1 loss to Brentford and failed to make a big leap out of the relegation zone.
Forest led 1-0 until Ivan Toney equalized in the 82nd minute – his 20th goal of the season – before substitute Josh Dasilva scored the winning goal after VAR confirmed there was no offside .
Forest remain one point above the relegation zone and have four games to go, including what looks to be a decisive duel against Southampton.