Tuesday 25 April 2017

Allardyce backs himself to get the best out of loan star Sakho

Crystal Palace manager Sam Allardyce Photo: Reuters
Crystal Palace manager Sam Allardyce Photo: Reuters

John Culley

Sam Allardyce admits he took a gamble by signing Liverpool outcast Mamadou Sakho but believes the man-management style that worked with the controversial El-Hadji Diouf during his Bolton days can turn the France international into a key figure in his attempt to keep Crystal Palace in the Premier League.

Sakho joined on loan in January, having been told he had no future under Jürgen Klopp after a series of no-shows during Liverpool's pre-season tour. But Allardyce believes he can handle him.

"As managers we deal with players in different ways," Allardyce said. "If I'd been harsh on Dioufy with some of the antics he got up to, he'd never have played for Bolton."

Sakho arrived at Selhurst Park with no senior football since April last year but after a man-of-the-match performance on his Palace debut against Middlesbrough the previous week the central defender demonstrated his quality again at the Hawthorns on Saturday as Palace completed back-to-back wins for the first time in six months and back-to-back clean sheets for the first time in almost a year.

Frozen out

"You are slightly concerned when you take a player who has been frozen out," Allardyce said. "But we knew that you don't play for Liverpool as many times as he did and become a bad player."

Allardyce insists that Sakho's time-keeping and reliability so far have not been a concern.

"Mamadou is a flamboyant character, a confident man - you can see that with his hair alone," he said. "But so far he's not turned up late or anywhere he shouldn't have."

Palace may be missing Patrick van Aanholt for a few weeks after the defender suffered ankle-ligament damage, but their goals underlined their confidence.

Wilfried Zaha scored the first just before the hour mark, and Andros Townsend added the second six minutes from time after a lung-busting run from his own box.

Albion, who had been on a run of seven wins in eight home matches, never looked likely to deliver the victory manager Tony Pulis craved against the club with whom he is locked in a bitter legal battle over his resignation in 2014.

He says his lawyers have advised him not to discuss the £3.7m judgment made against him in the High Court last November. Then again, Albion's performance left him in no mood to talk about much.

"I'm praying it was just a bad day at the office," he said.

Telegraph.co.uk

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