Crystal Palace manager Sam Allardyce was disappointed with the way his team performed in the first half against Arsenal as the Eagles started 2017 with a defeat.
A wondergoal by Olivier Giroud and an Alex Iwobi header sealed the points for Arsene Wenger’s men, but the new Palace boss was unhappy with the sloppy concession of possession that led to the Frenchman’s opener, but was buoyed by an improved second 45 which saw Petr Cech in superb form.
In his post-match press conference, he spoke about a range of issues, including:
The match: “I was disappointed in our first half performance – not defensively as I thought we defended quite bravely but in possession of the ball we gave too much good possession away which I didn’t expect to see after seeing the quality of the players we have on the training ground and what they showed at Watford. That disappointed me – none more so than the goal we let in because that was simple possession given away on one of our rare attacks in the first half, and Arsenal went down the other end and scored a goal which was a brilliant piece of skill.
“Second half we played a bit better but when you play here, if you get a chance you’ve got to take it and that chance came to Christian Benteke just after half-time, and because that didn’t go in we perhaps couldn’t make a better game of it than we did. It was a fair result though and Arsenal deserved to win.”
Keeping players fresh: “I made changes with Swansea in mind. We’re a bit thin on the ground with injuries and we’ve been dealt the blow of not having enough recovery time by playing today and Tuesday night – why can’t we play Wednesday? Swansea played yesterday and now have 24 hours on us. With such big games and so much at stake, you want a fair crack at it. I won’t go into the science of the fatigue the players suffer with nowadays but they haven’t got enough time to recover 100%”
What was missing: “There was a lack of belief in themselves today. It’s been so long since they’ve gone on an extended run of good results. Going into 2016 the club was fifth in the Premier League, and then 2016 is well documented. Let’s hope 2017 is more like 2015.”
Swansea game: “Our big game is Tuesday – we’re going to survive by beating teams in the bottom half and if we can get a victory against one of the top teams then that’ll be a bonus to get us safe quicker.
“I think Swansea is a massive game for the nerves of our players and they have to control them on the day as everyone expects us to win on the basis that Swansea are struggling badly recently. Everyone is expecting us to thrash them, and we’d like to beat them by more than one or two goals but we’ll have to hold our nerve and produce our best performance.”