Sport Soccer

Sunday 8 December 2019

Sam Allardyce: Palace must win Selhurst showdown with Swansea

Sam Allardyce is targeting his first victory as Crystal Palace manager
Sam Allardyce is targeting his first victory as Crystal Palace manager

Sam Allardyce has identified Tuesday's home showdown with Swansea as being crucial to Crystal Palace's hopes of surviving in the Premier League.

Sunday's 2-0 defeat at Arsenal left Allardyce's new club in 17th place and with a total of only 16 points from 19 games.

Swansea are widely expected to appoint a new manager of their own by Tuesday evening, but Allardyce is wary of the need to win if Palace are to climb clear of the bottom three.

He has already complained that Swansea have had an additional day's preparation for this fixture, and to that end made second-half changes at Arsenal to protect three of his players.

They were convincingly outplayed at the Emirates, but Allardyce is adamant any points taken from the division's top six can only be considered a "bonus" because it is results secured against those club around them which will define their season.

"Our players need to get ready for Swansea on Tuesday night - that's the big game they need to win," said Allardyce.

"Watching Premier League football this year, the top six are so much better than last year so it's always hard to pick up points against them.

"Our big game's on Tuesday, there's no doubt about it. We're going to survive by beating teams in the bottom half.

"If we get a victory against one of the top boys that'll be the added bonus to get us safe quicker.

"It's been so long since Palace have gone on an extended run of good results."

Christian Benteke, Andros Townsend and Yohan Cabaye were the three players Allardyce substituted at Arsenal and each is expected to retain their place against Swansea.

The manager also has Damien Delaney available again after suspension, and could consider changes after speaking of his disappointment at their performance at the Emirates.

On Sunday Palace were as poor as they were at any stage under Allardyce's predecessor Alan Pardew, but asked if he has found the job more difficult than he expected, he responded: "Not really.

"It's only two games.

"I'll know by the end of the window (how difficult a task survival is). Two things have to happen for the team to get better and produce results.

"Get the team fitter - getting the injured players back - and try and buy players in. Two if possible, three if the finances will allow. I want to lift the squad.

"I can lift the squad by the way we train and organise ourselves, and we can lift the squad by bringing a couple of good players in to lift it. If you get the right players you can lift those already here.

"Because they haven't won so many games in the whole of 2016, they're a little bit low on confidence - that you have to try and build up."

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