Crystal Palace to be rewarded for return to form with warm-weather training camp
Crystal Palace will be rewarded for their return to form with a warm-weather training camp in the coming weeks.
They significantly improved during Saturday's 1-0 defeat of Middlesbrough, which has revived their hopes of surviving relegation from the Premier League, and manager Sam Allardyce plans to take them away after next week's fixture at West Brom.
After that visit to The Hawthorns, because of their elimination from the FA Cup, Palace will not play again for two weeks - when they host Watford. A proposed trip to Dubai earlier this month was cancelled after their embarrassing 4-0 defeat at home to Sunderland, but the manager has revealed another is to be explored.
During last season's run to the FA Cup final, Allardyce's predecessor Alan Pardew often took his team away to prepare for their games in the competition, and the new boss said: "We'll have a look at that now this week.
"The weather's so poor here. Since 2001, in the Premier League, apart from with Newcastle because I got sacked before I could take them away, I've taken every team away for the sunshine; a warm-weather break.
"It's worked for me, so we'll be looking at that this week to see where we can go.
"Everyone's lifted their physical element, which I think has come from the training we've given them, and that's helped with the mental side: the decision making (against Middlesbrough) was very, very good."
Saturday's victory, courtesy of Patrick van Aanholt's first-half goal, took Palace out of the relegation zone and up to 17th, as well as again giving them the belief they can survive.
A run of six defeats from seven appeared to leave them at their greatest risk of returning to the Championship since their promotion in 2013, but Allardyce said their performance reminded him of the way new signings Lamine Kone and Jan Kirchoff began to inspire his Sunderland team last season.
"If I can make any comparison, it's what Patrick and Mamadou Sakho brought to the team," said the 62-year-old. "That bit more quality.
"Mama showed a lot of composure, played a lot of nice, simple balls to midfield players, and said 'Right, you get on with it'. Perhaps before that we were hurrying our clearance."
It also left them level with 16th-placed Middlesbrough with 22 points from 26 games, and defender Ben Gibson spoke of how damaging the result had been for his Boro team.
"We know we've got to win the games around the teams around us," he told the club's official website. "There's no hiding from it: it's not a good result. We needed to win. We have to focus on what we have to do to get out of the predicament we we're in.
"We have to be more honest with ourselves, more demanding of ourselves, and it has to start now because we can't wait any longer.
"It's very worrying. The table doesn't lie, but just because we got beat doesn't mean it's over.
"The atmosphere's bad (in the changing room), but that's how I want it to be.
"We've worked too hard to throw this position away. I still have every confidence we'll stay in this league, but I'm very, very frustrated we've let a good opportunity go."