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First Team

Allardyce: First Minute Was Turning Point

21 May 2017

Sam Allardyce felt that had his side netted within the first couple of minutes against Manchester United, then Crystal Palace’s season might not have ended in defeat at Old Trafford.

The Eagles carved out a good early chance when Patrick van Aanholt escaped into the box and had the chance to play in Christian Benteke, but hesitated enough to allow Eric Bailly to snuff out the chance. Within 20 minutes, goals from Josh Harrop and Paul Pogba put United in control, and that ensured that Palace’s season ended in defeat.

In his post-match press conference, he talked about a number of topics, including:

The game: “Manchester United had two shots on target and scored two goals, and that was the difference between the sides. Our first half performance was decidedly average and the goals we conceded were avoidable. In the second half we couldn’t find the goal to put the pressure on Man United and we finished the season with a loss. 

“We had only one shot on goal and hit the post, and had a couple of good opportunities but nothing else, so there wasn’t much between the side except United taking their chances.”

Turning point: “From our point of view, Patrick’s run through in the first minute was the key moment. He was clear through in the six-yard box and didn’t slip the ball to Christian Benteke or we could have gone 1-0 up, and I’d be sitting here having not gotten beat – I’m convinced of that. We didn’t put it in when we had the chance and that’s the difference between winning and losing in the Premier League.”

Motivating players for games like this: “You saw that in the first half performance; as much as you have the opportunity to go out and create another good result like we did at Chelsea and Liverpool, there’s not the same pressure on the players. In the second half they got better.”

Personal highlight of the season: “Beating Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool in those eight or nine days was a great thrill. Without those victories we would have been relegated now and down and out, so it shows the enormity of those victories.

“Overall, it’s been a great success since the turn of the year and a big achievement by the players, backroom staff and owners to get safe before coming here for points.”

Summer restructuring: “We have a lot of players that we got to make decisions on one way or the other in the next 7-10 days, and we have to do that with the chairman as quickly as we can. As usual, we’ll dip into the market if and when there is the right player available, which means that the summer will be difficult as always. The ever-increasing cost of players is a big problem for any football club.” 

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