Coleman strike leaves Allardyce in deep trouble
Sam Allardyce, the man who brought salvation to West Ham and Sunderland, gave an insight into what is required for Premier League survival as Crystal Palace plunged into the bottom three on Saturday.
Crystal Palace 0 Everton 1
The former England manager has yet to celebrate a league win despite five attempts since taking charge at Selhurst Park a month ago and the latest failure, following Seamus Coleman's controversial late winner, leaves them in deep trouble.
"It doesn't to me, but it might do to them," Allardyce said, when asked about the psychological implications that dropping into the relegation zone might have on the players.
"They have to focus on themselves and not look at what might be out there in terms of negativity, because if you hear enough it will affect you. So don't listen to it, don't read it. Shut it all off and focus on what you have to do."
Allardyce, who has never suffered relegation from the top flight, can summon the experience of successful battles at Upton Park and the Stadium of Light to impart crucial lessons to his new charges.
"I can say, 'look I've been here before and I know what it takes to get out of this particular predicament, but I can only do that if you respond to what we do'. We will not be safe, if we get safe, until the last two weeks, if we are lucky," he said.
"We will have to put together something like four or five wins on the trot, which can happen if you get the right belief going quickly. But the process has to be: don't lose."
Saturday's display was a significant improvement on the late collapse at West Ham the previous Saturday, but they still came up short against Ronald Koeman's rising Everton.
The Toffees manager was satisfied that Palace were restricted to just two meaningful chances - Christian Benteke heading against the woodwork before drawing a magnificent save from keeper Joel Robles - before Coleman lashed home with just three minutes left.
The home side felt hard done by as play continued in the long build-up to Coleman's strike, with Palace newcomer Jeffrey Schlupp lying injured at the opposite end of the pitch. Referee Anthony Taylor refused to halt play to allow a substitution and Coleman was able to exploit a gap in the Palace defence where Schlupp would have provided cover.
Everton, though, were by some stretch the better side, with Ross Barkley outstanding in midfield.
The Schlupp controversy would have been a footnote if Palace keeper Wayne Hennessey had not been in inspired form, keeping out a series of efforts from Romelu Lukaku, Kevin Mirallas and Barkley.
"We said we needed to play with more aggression and from the home game with Arsenal at the beginning of December I've seen a difference in the team, in how we play and how compact we are," Koeman said.
"We've changed players, it is a different system, but everybody feels confident in how we play and train." (© Daily Telegraph, London)