Sport Soccer

Thursday 14 November 2019

Crystal Palace boss Sam Allardyce delighted time with Christian Benteke pays off

Christian Benteke, right, will be integral to their Premier League survival bid, according to manager Sam Allardyce
Christian Benteke, right, will be integral to their Premier League survival bid, according to manager Sam Allardyce

Crystal Palace manager Sam Allardyce believes striker Christian Benteke can be the "big catalyst" for their Premier League survival bid.

Palace sit three points above the bottom three and host Arsenal at Selhurst Park on Monday after their impressive four-game winning run ended at the hands of Southampton in midweek.

The Belgium international struggled to find his feet in south London since joining in a club-record £32million deal from Liverpool last summer. In the early stages of Allardyce's tenure, the 26-year-old failed to adjust to the former England boss' tactics.

Despite scoring one goal in 11 league appearances under Allardyce, the former Liverpool frontman played an integral role in their impressive win at league leaders Chelsea.

Asked if he had sat down with the Belgian to help him rediscover his confidence, Allardyce said: "That's what coaches do.

"You've the technology of today that show a lot of players, to help them and improve their game. Obviously they have taken notice of that and help themselves get better and help the team get better.

"He has been frustrated, he hasn't been able to score but now he's put that right, the more he puts into the back of the net, the better for us.

"He's got 13 goals now in a struggling season so he's the catalyst for us and a big reason as to why we have a chance of staying out of the bottom three."

"To see him where he should be - which is on the move in the six-yard box and sometimes I've not seen him in those positions on the move, on the edge of the box, getting between those defenders against Southampton - is pleasing for me.

"He's got his goalscoring head on again and that's going to be very important for us.

"Going away and scoring two goals in Russia (for Belgium in March) has been a massive help for him.

"It's given him a bit more confidence, you can see that confidence in the calm, composed way he took the Chelsea goal.

"He didn't panic when the goalkeeper came rushing out at him, he just went to one side and chipped it into the net and Wednesday's goal, getting on the move and getting on the back of Andros' (Townsend) cross.

"His movement is getting better, his hold-up play is getting better. I think that he had a time at Liverpool where it didn't work out for him and that may well have affected him.

"Psychologically overcoming that, he goes from scoring 50 goals in 100 games to all of a sudden finding himself surplus to requirements. it takes some overcoming.

Although the Eagles lost last time out, Allardyce feels his side should take confidence from their display at Stamford Bridge ahead of a tough run of fixtures which include five of the current top six.

"It's given us confidence to know we can get results against anyone" Allardyce added.

"That's certainly the case. People talked about Crystal Palace beating Chelsea last season but Chelsea were not the Chelsea of last season, that's why the size of the win was so big.

"We've gone and beaten the number one team in the league. It's going to give you confidence to say you can beat number two, three, and four if you get your game right."

PA Media

The Left Wing: Champions Cup preview, the World Cup hangover and Joe Schmidt's next team

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport