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Belief is the key to Crystal survival, maintains Sam Allardyce

By Jack Pitt-Brooke

Sam Allardyce has demanded that his struggling Crystal Palace “control their nerves” against Swansea City tonight. Palace have won just one of their last 13 Premier League games and barely put up a fight while losing 2-0 at Arsenal on Sunday.

Ahead of tonight’s match, he told his players that Swansea are in an even worse shape than they are after a run of bad defeats that led to Bob Bradley’s axing.

Allardyce has told his players to stick to their plans and not to go for the jugular, trusting that Swansea will eventually collapse.

“Swansea is a massive game for the nerves of our players,” Allardyce said. “They have to control their nerves, because everybody expects us to win on the basis that Swansea are struggling. We are struggling, but they are struggling really badly.

“When they have let goals in, they’ve conceded three or four. People are expecting us to thrash Swansea which won’t be the case.

“We would like to beat them by more than one or two goals. But we really have to hold our nerve and produce our best.”

Allardyce tried to bring Swansea manager-elect Paul Clement into his coaching team during his one-match tenure of England in 2016, but the former Derby County boss stayed at Bayern Munich. Allardyce backed his coaching skills to help Swansea.

“It will be down to his coaching of the players, his organisation of the players and the experience he’s gained with (Carlo) Ancelotti,” Allardyce said.

“I don’t want to give him anything he might be able to use. We’ll talk after the game by which time we’ve won hopefully.”

Allardyce hopes Wilfried Zaha will start to get the rub of the green with decisions after, in his opinion, being denied clear free-kicks on Sunday, after the Vicarage Road diving storm.

“He didn’t get the decisions on Sunday and against Watford he could have got (a penalty). The coaches will have to sort that out with the referees,” he added.

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