And that was the fine margin that separated the sides at Selhurst Park as Burnley’s three-match unbeaten run away from home was ended by a Palace side which has seemingly banished its relegation fears under the former England boss.
Hodgson was appointed after Frank De Boer’s five-match reign was ended after a 1-0 defeat at Turf Moor in September left Palace without a point or a goal.
They have now amassed six wins but the latest one didn’t come without a struggle as Burnley recovered from a poor first 45 minutes to push Palace all the way and go close to taking a point in a frantic finish.
While the Clarets brought back three players following their FA Cup exit to Manchester City – meaning starts for Phil Bardsley, James Tarkowski and Steven Defour – Palace made four changes after they went out of the competition to Brighton.
However, Sako kept his place after scoring in that game and the former Wolves frontman fully justified his first league start since September.
He was a constant threat to the Clarets with his pace and power, forcing Tarkowski into an early challenge which saw the defender – whose first Premier League start had come on this ground in April in a first away win of the season which all but secured top-flight safety –get just enough of the ball to get the verdict from referee Michael Oliver as Palace appealed for a penalty.
But next time Sako got into the box there was to be no reprieve for the Clarets as he put the Eagles in front with his sixth goal of the season with 20 minutes gone.
Allowed to run too far into the danger area, his low shot skidded past two pairs of legs, unsighting Nick Pope, who was unable to keep the ball out of the net with his left foot.
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