Oliver Glasner replied with an emphatic “no” when asked if he expected his first three months in charge of Crystal Palace would result in his new side equalling a best-ever top-10 Premier League finish.

The mood was sour in south London when the Austrian took over a relegation-threatened Eagles side in February, a nadir best exemplified by the protest banners raised by a disillusioned fanbase.

On Sunday, before Jean-Philippe Mateta hit a hat-trick in the Eagles’ 5-0 thrashing of Aston Villa – only the second in Palace’s top-flight history – the banner unfurled in the Holmesdale end read: “Forever red and blue, a new dawn beckons.”

Glasner, whose men needed other results to go their way to land in the top half, said: “I don’t know how many points we were away (when I started), but I didn’t focus on the table. Never.

“From the first day we were always focused and concentrated on the team, on the players, what we need to improve, what we need to win games.

“We really worked hard, and now we all get the reward.”

The latter part of Glasner’s early tenure in south London was greatly boosted by having both Michael Olise and Eberechi Eze regularly available to him after the pair – who despite their injuries combined for 21 of the Eagles’ club-record 57 goals – swapped several spells on the sidelines.

But perhaps the biggest story of the second half was the rise of Mateta, whose three on Sunday made it nine goals in Palace’s last eight meetings and more goals than any other Premier League player since Glasner’s first game in charge on February 24th.

Olise and Eze, who bagged a second-half brace at Selhurst, both recently signed extensions but are set to be top summer targets, though their boss was optimistic Sunday was not the last time the duo would appear in Eagles shirts.

“I’m very confident,” he added. “They have a contract, they are here, nobody told me now that they will leave.

“We all did what we can do as Crystal Palace, we showed them that we have ambition, we showed them how we want to play, which path we want to go, which journey we want to ride all together, and that they can play a crucial part in it.

“They can show their qualities, they can show their strengths, they can show their personality, they can express themselves, and that fits together.

“This is what we can do, and if something else happens it’s part of football.”

Unai Emery felt his side looked sluggish after the Eagles’ second goal, conceding it was perhaps difficult to rally at Selhurst Park after the denouement of sealing fourth spot and Champions League football earlier in the week.

He said: “We tried to keep being consistent in the way we try to keep competitive in 90 minutes.

“The second half we lost the small energy we had, and after we achieved the biggest objective we were planning since August, since the beginning of the season, it was very difficult today.

“Today we didn’t do (well) but overall we have to accept it because in all the season we really were competitive and we achieved the objective on Tuesday, but it is very important as well to try to be consistent, and even with less energy like we had today.

“But I can’t tell anything to the players and I can’t tell nothing for our work, because sometimes in the moment, like the circumstances we had today, we can accept it.”