Allardyce says break helped Palace
Crystal Palace 1 Middlesbrough 0
Sam Allardyce believes Crystal Palace's improved performance in their defeat of Middlesbrough was due to the fortnight's break they have had from their relegation battle.
They demonstrated increased resilience and belief as Patrick van Aanholt's first-half goal secured the three vital points that took them out of the drop zone and up to 17th.
Their elimination from the FA Cup earlier in the season gave them a break last weekend and two weeks to prepare for Middlesbrough.
Allardyce had previously overseen a disappointing and demanding run of fixtures since his appointment as manager in December, but their improvement at Selhurst Park suggested his influence is finally being felt.
The manager had previously been critical for his squad for not listening to his instructions, but he said: "Our two-week break has worked in our favour.
"We've worked very well with the players - it's given them a lot of thinking time. A lot of the new players can mingle with the lads already here.
"The performance in the first half warranted our victory, with an excellent goal from Patrick.
"(Mamadou Sakho produced a) very nice performance, in his first competitive Premier League game this season."
Allardyce revealed he has set his team the target of catching 14th-placed Bournemouth, the highest of those clubs he believes are involved in the battle for survival.
Sunday Indo Sport