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First Team

Allardyce: Players Played To Their Maximum

1 April 2017

Sam Allardyce believes that his players playing to their absolute best was the reason why Crystal Palace beat league leaders Chelsea 2-1 at Stamford Bridge.

The Eagles dug in to come from behind and end the Blues’ 13-match winning home run to record a fourth straight win, and the gaffer was delighted at the resilience shown by all 14 of those that featured for the visitors today.

Speaking in his post-match press conference, he spoke about a range of topics, including:

The gameplan: “I think that our plan was one of the keys to why we won, but at the end of the day a plan can only work when your players play to their best of their abilities, which would be the maximum we need to get anything against Chelsea. 

“We were hoping to nullify Chelsea but we went a goal down after three minutes, but the response of the players was instead of letting their heads go down - which is what I saw when I first arrived - I saw a determination and will to try and get back into the game. The two goals we scored shocked Chelsea and their fans and put them on the back foot, and then our resilience and some of the saves from the goalkeeper were the reason why we won it.

“Winning here 2-1 is an outstanding victory for us. No-one expected it and it’s given us 31 points which is the first time we’ve got more points than games played since I’ve been here.”

Wilfried Zaha: “Wilf must feel good about himself because of his consistent performances at the moment, which he showed before he went away with the Ivory Coast and while he was with them, and he certainly showed it today, especially in possession. There is a man on the other side who is an outstanding individual in Hazard and I think his ability is something that Wilf can look at and match.”

Mamadou Sakho’s future: “We need to secure our Premier League status first and then we can see if Mamadou wants to join Crystal Palace or if he has aspirations elsewhere; it certainly looks like his future isn’t at Liverpool. He’s enjoying his football immensely – if you had seen him in the dressing room today it shows you how much he is enjoying his life here, but he’s brought a resilience to the team. He’s taking a commanding role by the information he’s giving out on the field.”

Southampton next up: “It’s a pity that we have a game on Wednesday so there’s no celebration for the lads; they have to go home and get themselves ready for Southampton. That game is another big one for us – can we keep the run going and take this level of performance to Southampton and get another result?”

Injuries: “Joel Ward fell on Scott Dann’s knee and he felt something go in it, we’re not quite sure what or how damaging it is. That was a blow for us and James Tomkins has a calf problem.

“Moving from a back three or back five helped us to keep Chelsea out when they were taking more and more chances. Kelly and Delaney came on and never put a foot wrong. They’ll come into play now over the next few weeks and hopefully we can continue our run of good results.”

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