CRYSTAL Palace brushed aside bitter rivals Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday with a comfortable 3-0 win in front of 20,000 fans at Selhurst Park.
Ian Holloway admitted to not knowing much about the rivalry which exists between the two clubs before taking the reigns as Eagles boss last month.
But he was left in no doubt what it meant to the club at the final whistle.
Holloway said: “I’ve just told the players I am as pleased as punch because I’ve experienced a wonderful thing today, a local derby.
“It was a fantastic day today, a wonderful atmosphere and I thoroughly enjoyed it.”
An early sending off for Lewis Dunk after seven minutes put the visitors on the back foot from the off.
But a well organised Brighton team proved difficult to break down until a Glenn Murray brace either side of half-time, the first from open play and the second a penalty, secured victory against his former side.
Palace’s top scorer could have had a hat-trick too after winning a second penalty but he unselfishly opted to throw the ball to Owen Garvan who made it three with a clinical spot kick.
And it is this sort of selflessness and professionalism which Palace boss Holloway believes sets his team apart from the competition.
The Selhurst boss explained: “What pleased me most of all was how we controlled the game after the sending off, which is very difficult against a side like Brighton.
“It took us a while because they are a good side but I am delighted with the professionalism of my lads and the way we then started knocking it around.
“It felt more like my team and the way I like to play.
“Sometimes 10 men can really hurt you but we nullified them and we were model professionals, even down to Glenn Murray giving up the penalty which could have got him his hat-trick because he’s missed a couple recently and I think that sums us up for me.
“He was ill this morning, he wasn’t going to play but we got him out there and he was brilliant.
“It’s the whole parts that make the sum of it and I guarantee you we are not a one-man team.
“Everybody mentions the obvious and says this player or that player is the best but the best at what?
“Best at tackling?
“That’s Mile Jedinak and Kagisho Dikgacoi.
“Best at organising the backline?
“We’ve got Peter Ramage and Damien Delaney at the back there who have been excellent.
“So it’s the whole that’s clicking and working together along with the crowd who were awesome today and long may it continue.”
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