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Monday 18 December 2017

Sam Allardyce braced for 'difficult' summer at Crystal Palace

Sam Allardyce's Crystal Palace finished 14th in the Premier League
Sam Allardyce's Crystal Palace finished 14th in the Premier League

Crystal Palace manager Sam Allardyce is anticipating a "difficult" summer as he looks to build upon his achievement of steering the club away from the Premier League relegation zone.

Palace were 17th in the table when Allardyce took charge in December, a point above 18th spot, having won just once in 11 games.

The London club failed to win any of their first five league matches under the ex-England boss, before claiming eight victories in the next 15, including triumphs in April against Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool.

Their safety was secured after they beat Hull 4-0 in their penultimate fixture of the campaign. After Sunday's 2-0 loss at Manchester United they finished 14th, seven points clear of the drop zone.

The squad will now undergo modifications, with Allardyce trying to get a group together that can keep Palace moving in the right direction next term.

"We have a lot of players that we have to make decisions on one way or the other in the next seven to 10 days," Allardyce said.

"We shall do that with the chairman (Steve Parish) as quickly as we can, a nd, as usual, dip into the market if and when we can, when there is the right player available.

"So summer will be difficult, as always.

"It is never easy. But the ever-increasing cost of players is a big problem for any football club, and is for Crystal Palace, having to pay that sort of money."

The youngest Manchester United side ever fielded in a Premier League game beat Palace on Sunday thanks to goals from debutant Josh Harrop and Paul Pogba in the 15th and 19th minutes respectively.

Palace forward Christian Benteke hit the post with a second-half header, but the visitors rarely threatened.

Reflecting on the contest, Allardyce said: "I think from our point of view, Patrick van Aanholt's run through in the first minute was the key moment - he was clear through in the six-yard box and just couldn't slip a ball to Christian Benteke.

"If he had, we would have gone 1-0 up and we wouldn't have been beat, I'm convinced of that.

"But we didn't put it in when we had the chance.

"That is the difference between winning and losing in the Premier League - those small moments make all the difference.

"United had two shots on target, scored two, and we had only one, hit the post, and had a couple of reasonable opportunities, but nothing else.

"So there wasn't much between the sides, apart from Man United finished better than we did."

Press Association

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