Roy Hodgson was satisfied with his Crystal Palace players despite their 2-0 defeat against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Goals from Tammy Abraham and Christian Pulisic were enough to lift the Blues up to second place in the Premier League with 26 points from 12 games, before Manchester City clash with leaders Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday.
Palace were pinned back for much of the game as Chelsea earned all three points four days after a dramatic 4-4 Champions League draw against Ajax.
And Eagles boss Hodgson admitted it was unfortunate to face Frank Lampard’s in-from side, who have won six league games in a row.
“I don’t need to reproach the team at all,” Hodgson said. “One can always hope that after a Champions League game you meet an opponent who might be a bit jaded or not paying to their full potential and their highest level but that certainly wasn’t the case.
“We weathered the early storm well and I thought the players worked hard. I have no criticism of them in any shape or form.”
Chelsea’s breakthrough occurred at particularly unfortunate moments, according to Hodgson.
He added: “Eventually they score a goal, a good one-two, to go 1-0 up and we couldn’t say that they hadn’t worked hard to deserve their lead.
“The second goal was a little bit unfortunate for us as I thought we were starting to grow into the game and were looking a little bit more like ourselves, but the shot looped up kindly for Christian Pulisic to score.
“Obviously after that, it was very difficult for us to get back. We didn’t give up and fought right to the end. But this is an unfortunate spell for us, playing against the top teams in the land.
“But as I said when we lost to both Man City and Leicester I can’t sit here and honestly say that I’m disappointed in any way.”