Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson has admitted 'the best team won' following his side's 3-1 home defeat to Manchester United.
A Romelu Lukaku strike either side of half-time put the away side in a commanding position, before a Joel Ward header rekindled some hope with 25 minutes to play. However, Ashley Young put the game beyond doubt with 83 minutes on the clock following a swift counter attack.
"I thought that the best team won, I think that in the first half we worked hard to keep our shape and keep them at bay but the fact is they had a lot of control. I think at times in trying to keep our shape, we were guilty of a bit of passivity on occasions.
"I didn't think there were a lot of chances in the first half but they certainly took theirs well. I thought we started the second half very brightly and the second goal was a real cold shower because the first five or six minutes we looked like we could do something here."
The defeat was Palace's first loss in the club's last six games in all competitions, but they showed real fighting spirit to claw their way back into the game when Joel Ward reduced the arrears with a diving header after 65 minutes. The determination on show pleased Hodgson, who said his players must be given 'great credit' for their efforts:
"It's a great credit to the players that despite the second goal they continued on the front foot as they tried to start the second half, and actually we got back into the game." Hodgson added.
Despite the defeat, Palace still have a five-point cushion over Cardiff who occupy the final relegation. Next up for the Eagles is a trip to Turf Moor on Saturday, a game that could prove to be a decisive Premier League 'six pointer'.