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Allardyce admits he MUST improve Palace’s defence to keep them in the top flight

Date Posted,December 22, 2016

Straight-talking Sam Allardyce cut straight to the heart of Crystal Palace’s problems by simply telling his new team: Let’s stop losing.

Allardyce outlined his first big priority after being confirmed as the south Londoners’ new boss on Fridat night.

The former England manager has been handed a two-and-a-half year Selhurst Park deal and will waste no time getting down to work.

He will take training for the first time on Saturday and take charge of his first game when the Eagles travel to Watford on Boxing Day.

Alan Pardew was sacked as Palace boss on Thursday after a dreadful run of eight defeats in his last 10 games which left them languishing in 17th, just a point above the drop zone.

Alan Pardew was sacked as Palace boss on Thursday (Photo: Christopher Lee)

Chairman Steve Parish admitted Palace had to make a change to avoid getting trapped in a relegation battle.

And Palace have pinned their hopes on Allardyce to turn things around.

He Allardyce said: “I don’t like to put too much of a tag on what we will try and achieve.

“I think first and foremost it’s just to say let’s stop losing.

Sam Allardyce leaves the Crystal Palace training ground
Allardyce has his first job back in football since being sacked by England (Photo: PA WIRE)

“Let’s start getting results and if that grows the confidence and draws turn into wins we can turn it around and perhaps go on a run of undefeated games rather than winning the odd one and losing again.

“I think that’s the objective. To try and find the basis of consistency that brings us some results, starting with Watford hopefully.”

Allardyce admitted that sorting out Palace’s defence will be key.

They have kept just one Premier League clean sheet all season, ‘boast’ the third worst defensive record in the division and have shipped a league-high 15 goals from set-pieces.

He said: “I am definitely looking forward to working with the likes of Wilfried Zaha and Christian Benteke.

Wilfried Zaha (L) of Crystal Palace celebrates scoring the opening goal with his team mate Christian Benteke (R)
Pardew is looking forward to working with Wilfried Zaha and Christian Benteke (Photo: Christopher Lee/Getty)

“But I have also got an important job of stopping the goals going in at the other end first to be perfectly honest with you.

“Attacking players when you are in possession are fantastic.

“This season the strengthening by the club, by Alan has brought a lot of flair to the team and that has brought quite a few more goals than perhaps they were looking like scoring last season.

“But the other side of it is when we are not in possession we need to stop conceding goals and make sure that those goals we score win us games now.

Diego Costa of Chelsea (R) celebrates scoring his sides first goal with Nemanja Matic of Chelsea (L) during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Chelsea at Selhurst Park on December 17, 2016 in London, England.
Palace’s last result was a home defeat to leaders Chelsea (Photo: Getty Images)

“It sounds simple, it is not that easy, but that is what we have got to try and turn around.”

Allardyce confirmed making “the squad a little bit bigger with a little bit more strength in depth is certainly a key area for me” next month.

So too is keeping his key players, with Zaha being eyed again by Tottenham.

But before that, Allardyce said: “You generally get a new job on the fact there are a few difficulties at the club and I need to sort those difficulties out, hopefully with my experience, and try and get a few more results on the board particularly over Christmas and New Year to make everybody feel a bit more comfortable.”

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