Saturday 21 October 2017

Whoever puts together the fixture list deserves to be sacked, fumes Allardyce

Allardyce admitted that his players are low on confidence after losing seven of their past 10 Premier League matches. Photo credit: Adam Davy/PA Wire
Allardyce admitted that his players are low on confidence after losing seven of their past 10 Premier League matches. Photo credit: Adam Davy/PA Wire

Jeremy Wilson

Sam Allardyce has called for the person who organises the Premier League fixtures to be sacked and admitted that Tuesday's crucial match against Swansea City influenced the decision to substitute key players against Arsenal.

Yohan Cabaye, Christian Benteke and Andros Townsend were all taken off even with Palace trailing 2-0 and Allardyce pointed to how his team must now face Swansea just two days after facing the Gunners.

Swansea, who could narrow the deficit to Palace to only one point, have an added rest day following their 3-0 defeat against Bournemouth. Asked about his substitutions, Allardyce said: "We're thin on the ground. Why can't we play Wednesday?

"I don't know who does the fixtures but he really needs sacking. Swansea have 24 hours on us. You want a fair crack at it with so much at stake. The fatigued players recover. Ours don't have time to recover 100 per cent. Our players need to be ready for Swansea; that's the big game we need to win. No doubt."

Arsene Wenger has also expressed surprise at a schedule that has Arsenal playing Bournemouth tomorrow, while Chelsea have two added days of rest before facing Tottenham on Wednesday after also playing on Saturday. Palace only briefly threatened in the second half and Allardyce admitted that his players are low on confidence after losing seven of their past 10 Premier League matches.

"They lacked belief in themselves probably down to the fact they haven't been on a good run," he said. "Let's hope 2017 picks up, more like 2015. They're low on confidence. I was disappointed in our first half performance. Not defensively, because we defended quite bravely but in possession we gave it away.

"That disappointed me, none more so than the goal, which was simple possession given away on one of our rare attacks. Arsenal went down the other end and scored with a brilliant piece of skill.

Finances

"Arsenal deserved to win. The top six are so much better than last year. We needed to play our best and certainly first half we didn't play anywhere near."

With the January transfer window now open, Allardyce confirmed he will try to make at least two new signings. "We will try to get players in," he said. "Two players in if possible, three if finances allow."

Of the £32 million Benteke, who missed a penalty against Watford last week and a chance to put Palace level yesterday, Allardyce said: "He's our biggest signing and he's signed to score goals. We've got to provide more service. Our defining moment was his chance."

Allardyce also feels the Eagles need to show more confidence in their own qualities.

He said: "(We had) not enough belief in our own ability to do better than what we did.

"The Emirates is a difficult place, we all know that. When you come here you've got to have a really good belief in your own ability and the team as a whole. And I think that showed in the first half, our lack of ability to control and pass the ball to each other. While we defended exceptionally well, we just really gave too much ball away when we had good possession.

"You could see that with Arsenal's first goal. We gave a simple ball away and they punished us severely and that's Arsenal for you.

"I do have to say for the goal it was just an outstandingly stunning finish," he added.

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