After overseeing his first home win as Palace manager, Sam Allardyce felt that the two-week gap he’s had to work with his squad made the difference as the Eagles beat Middlesbrough 1-0.
Patrick van Aanholt’s well-taken goal was the difference between the teams, and Allardyce heaped praise on his full-back as well as the team as a whole who put in a resolute display to come away with a potentially crucial three points.
In his post-match press conference, he talked about:
The win: “Our two week break has worked in our favour. In that time we have worked very well with the players and we’ve had a lot of thinking time as well as training, and a lot of the new players can mingle in with the lads. The performance in the first half warranted our victory today with an excellent goal from Patrick who has a very god habit of scoring goals as a full-back.
“It’s an important win, goal and clean sheet for us because we know that when Middlesbrough decide to launch it forward in the last 10 or 15 minutes that we have to show a lot of resilience and we did that and didn’t give them many opportunities to equalise which would have been a blow for us today.”
The winning goal: “I was really pleased with the quality of the finish – it was a half-chance at best from where he was, but when you get that sort of quality in the game it can turn it and it did today.”
Mamadou Sakho: “It was a nice performance and it was his first Premier League game this season, so we spent a good bit of time on his fitness and he’s accepted that he had to put that extra work in. His experience and his composure today made him look very commanding. I wasn’t sure if he’d last the whole game but he did and we needed him today because he set so many attacks up for us, particularly in the first half when instead of clearing it he gave it to the midfield lads.”
The performance: “They made the right decisions more often today and it’s about them making the right run or pass, or putting the ball in the right areas or exploiting the right amount of space, so that was encouraging for me. That’s come by the concentration over the last two weeks.”
Getting out of the relegation zone: “I’ve said to the lads that that it’s a seven-team league for us, and we need to try and get as near to the top of those seven clubs as possible. Today we got a lot closer because Bournemouth and Swansea got beat and Hull drew so we’ve gained some points today. When you’ve won a game and all the others have too it kills the mood a little bit, but it hasn’t today as it’s moved us out of the bottom three.
“It’s good for the confidence and we’ve had to live with a lot of pressure, and the only way we can relieve that is by winning matches and picking points up. We’ve got West Brom next week who have been outstanding and I’ll cast the lads’ minds back to when we beat Bournemouth and what happened the next game, so we can’t take anything for granted. We need to be spot-on at West Brom and make sure we get a result there and follow this fantastic win up.”