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Alan Pardew praised Yohan Cabaye for being "the difference" in Crystal Palace's 1-0 Premier League defeat of Southampton.
Cabaye scored the game's only goal towards the end of the first half and was unfortunate not to secure a second as he inspired his team to victory and created further goalscoring chances.
The three points strengthened sixth-placed Palace's pursuit of the top six and European football in addition to hampering the ambitions of a potential rival.
Pardew was instrumental in luring Cabaye, Palace's club-record ?10million signing, from Paris St Germain in the summer, and after another fine performance the manager said: "It was a Frenchman who was the difference between the two sides, it was a masterclass from Yohan Cabaye.
"If you want to come and see how a midfielder plays in the Premier League - tackling, heading, passing, being calm on the ball, being frantic when you need to be - he did everything.
"I wouldn't say we dominated it for the whole period. The last 10 minutes got a bit frantic but overall I thought we deserved to win, I thought we did enough, although both goalkeepers have had to pull off some really good saves to keep the scoreline at 1-0.
"I kept saying our home form's been good, but obviously results didn't back that up. We got an important win, we were so determined, we've got to take that into every game now and try and stay sixth for this Christmas period."
The defeat leaves Southampton without a win and with only a solitary draw from their past five games, and while manager Ronald Koeman insisted he remains unconcerned about their performances and that they deserved more at Selhurst Park, he said their results have become a problem.
"I'm worried about results," he said. "I'm not worried about how we play football.
"If we don't create chances we need to be very worried. We are disappointed about the final result, I am not disappointed about the team.
"We worked hard, we did everything, the wind was (affecting) our football, but it was a fighting game, and that makes it more difficult.
"If we keep this level then the three points will come. I don't doubt that.
"It was very difficult to play our football in the wind. It makes it difficult for both teams.
"Crystal Palace is a team who played a little bit more direct than Southampton and maybe that was the reason we had some difficulties in the beginning.
"After that we controlled the game, we had a good chance, a good header. The second half we played well, we dominated the game.
"Paulo (Gazzaniga, Southampton's goalkeeper) had some good saves. Both goalkeepers deserved a win (with) the performances they showed, and the goalkeeper of Crystal Palace maybe a little bit more because the header of (Steven) Davis and the last one, the header of Shane (Long).
"That's the reason I think we deserved one point."