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Allardyce puts Palace revival down his kind of sexy football — keeping clean sheets

Date Posted,April 11, 2017

Sam Allardyce believes the secret to his success is convincing players that defending is sexy.

The Crystal Palace boss, 62, has established himself as the king of the firefighters after the south Londoners became the latest club to benefit from his Midas touch.

Big Sam has seen off champions-elect Chelsea — at Stamford Bridge! — and Arsenal this month to bring back the ­feel-good factor.

Heading for relegation when he replaced the sacked Alan Pardew at Christmas, the Eagles are now six points clear of danger, having won five of their last six.

“The key element for me was to stop ­conceding goals,” he said. “It has a negative vibe about it, sadly, but is critical for all clubs in how successful they are going to be.

Monday’s win over Arsenal took Palace six points clear of third-bottom Swansea (Photo: AFP/Getty)

“It rarely wants to get talked about by other managers because it is not fashionable or sexy. But any team that wins anything has the best defensive record. My ­message was, ‘If we stop the goals going in, we will get out of trouble’.

“That creates the ­opposite then — it creates more flair, more excitement, more goals and better results.”

Allardyce saved Sunderland from what appeared near-certain relegation when he joined early last season, while Blackburn plunged out of the Premier League after he was axed having first rescued them from the drop then led them to the League Cup semi-finals.

Then, he steered West Ham to promotion from the ­Championship and kept them in the Premier League.

Earlier in his career, he led Bolton out of the old First ­Division, via the ­play-offs in 2001, then on to a League Cup final and UEFA Cup qualification.

It’s looking like we are in for a repeat of Big Sam’s safety dance at Sunderland last May (Photo: PA Archive)

His success in South London has been the perfect answer to the vilification he received when sacked from the England job last September after just one game, following a newspaper sting.

Palace, with a game in hand on four clubs above them, could now finish ­mid-table if their fine form continues.

And Allardyce ­was dismissive of those who criticise his methods.

“How can a style be called open and ­attractive, if you lose? I cannot grasp it,” he said. “The team were ­playing with a more ­attractive and open style before I came, but it was not winning matches.

“Convincing the ­players was not easy, but I had to change that.”

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