Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira praised “humble” two-goal hero Conor Gallagher after his brace helped inspire a 3-1 victory over Everton in the Premier League.
The Chelsea loanee opened the scoring after 41 minutes and wrapped up the points with a sublime second in stoppage time, curling home from 25 yards.
It ended the Eagles’ three-match losing run and Gallagher was central to the triumph to continue his fine form at Selhurst Park, which has not been affected by a maiden England appearance last month.
Vieira said: “I am not surprised at all and Conor is not the kind of person who will be too busy.
“He wants to improve, he is really humble, is working hard and the challenge for him is to maintain that level to fulfil his expectation.
“Today he was fantastic and I think when the team play at that level as well, it allows him and some of the players in the team to express themselves.”
After Gallagher took his goal tally for the season to six, his manager refused to put a limit on what the midfielder should target during his season-long loan in south London.
“I don’t know if I should put a number or not but if you look at the number of chances he is creating in the game and the number of chances the team are creating, his timing to get inside the box is always good and he can finish,” Vieira insisted.
“We have to keep challenging him, keep working with him to keep improving but he can score so we as a team have to play to allow those type of players who have the quality to score to take their chances.”
Palace’s returned to winning ways for the first time since the beginning of November and Vieira let out a big celebration when Gallagher made it 3-1 in stoppage-time to add to James Tomkins’ 62nd-minute tap-in.
He admitted: “It was an important win for us. We needed it and I am really pleased because we went through all of the scenarios during the game but at the end we managed to get the win.”
Everton suffered a seventh defeat from their last nine games despite Salomon Rondon’s second-half consolation and failed to build on Monday’s 2-1 victory at home to Arsenal.
Rafael Benitez made the decision to bring off Richarlison in the 57th minute, which was greeted with boos from the travelling faithful but the Spaniard insisted afterwards it was due to the Brazilian having a slight calf injury.
He said: “When you are disappointed because the team is not doing well, you can be emotional and react but the reality is we made this substitution and we were right.
“Rondon came on, was holding the ball up and giving us something more.
“After he scored the goal but we try to do the best for the team every time. We make mistakes but we know the players, know how they are and try to make the right decisions.”
On the result which leaves Everton in 14th position, Benitez added: “When we were controlling, we make a mistake and concede the first goal.
“Second goal, another mistake. Third goal, another mistake. Good reaction with our goal, we have our chances and we didn’t take our chances.”