"It was hard work," said the boss. "The weather has been atrocious. Once it started to rain I knew it would lash down and stay throughout the game but we prepared really well. We got it spot-on.
"I stressed to them what the pitch was going to be like and the team that we were playing against are fighting for their lives. We had to match them and I went with a team with a spine, and I thought the spine was very strong today.
"I said to them that whatever football they thought about playing they had to go back to basics because of the conditions. I thought the best player on the pitch scored the winner. There was only him who could have scored a goal like that in those conditions."
Argyle head coach Paul Mariner - who started without flu ridden striker Jamie Mackie for a second game - said: "Neil has got them going well.
"The lad took his goal really well, he showed fantastic balance and composure in the box.
"It was exquisite from a pure footballing viewpoint. Obviously not from our viewpoint.
"It really hammered it down and when the pitch is a little heavy to say the least.
"There's a couple points we take from it and they were that we kept going until the end, kept battling and stuck at it.
"I wouldn't think that Neil was all that comfortable on the bench thinking he was cruising to a 1-0 victory but Palace were very strong defensively.
"We were better in the second half, we tried a couple of different systems, a diamond and 4-4-2 but we just could not get that breakthrough. It's a disappointing afternoon because again we've got nothing out of it."