Sam Allardyce heaped praise on his players for the “perfect” way in which they beat Hull City to ensure the Tigers were relegated instead of his Eagles side.
A 4-0 thrashing was recorded thanks to goals from Wilfried Zaha, Christian Benteke, Luka Milivojevic and Patrick van Aanholt, and Allardyce revealed that his players were worried about the task in hand ahead of kick-off, but channeled that to record their biggest win of the campaign when they needed it most.
In his post-match press conference, he talked about a number of topics, including:
The win against Hull: “We were all very nervous today but those nerves were used in a positive way, especially by the players to deliver a performance that was needed.
“We tactically nullified anything they had to throw at us, and the way we took our goals and the quality of our counter-attacking in the second half was excellent. We didn’t give them a hope today and we did the job perfectly under enormous pressure in front of our fans to deliver. A sunny day, a full house and 4-0 brings a great end to what has been a difficult season.”
How the escape was achieved: “Having seen all the games over Christmas and New Year it was a tough time, and we made some changes behind the scenes and the concentration on the recruitment was certainly one of the big elements towards our turnaround. The players who arrived made us better defensively which was the weakest part of the team, and we had to start at that base before we got anywhere.
“The acquisitions increased the confidence of the players already here and we stopped conceding goals and winning football matches. We looked at the run-in and I said to myself that it was probably the hardest one due to the quality of the teams we had to play. We took three points at Chelsea away, and that gave us a great lift as it was our fourth win on the trot, and then we had a little stumble but the way we have seen Hull City off today really pleased me.”
His last year personally: “It’s not something I’ve planned: the achievement of Sunderland, the disappointment of England and then the saving of Crystal Palace. Steve [Parish] saw that he needed a change and thought I was the man, and we’ve achieved it all together with their [the owners’] support as well as the players, staff and fans. Without their financial support in January and our shrewd recruitment operation, it might have been difficult to get out of the trouble that we have.”
The next week: “Everyone has to enjoy themselves now, relax and get ready for Manchester United where there is no pressure for us to get any points, other than to try and put on another performance at one of the greatest football venues in the world, and then look forward to the summer.”
The summer window: “The next level of recruitment is critical to allow the team to be more consistent and achieving more in the Premier League rather than a fight about relegation. That’s something we’ll discuss in the future.
“Building for the future is the most enjoyable part, fire-fighting is the difficult part. If you have the label than you have to accept it as you’re good at it, but building for the future is much more important because it relieves the stress on you and everyone at the football club. I wouldn’t want to keep fighting relegation at the end of every season, and we need to make sure we don’t put ourselves in that position again.”