Belfast Telegraph

Sam Allardyce isn't looking for reinforcements in Sunderland's relegation fight

Sam Allardyce has insisted he already has Sunderland's "saviours" on board at the Stadium of Light and does not need to dip into the January transfer market.

Boss Allardyce declared himself blissfully unashamed of Sunderland's smash-and-grab 1-0 Barclays Premier League win at Crystal Palace, then challenged his existing squad to ease clear of a relegation battle.

"The players have given me more confidence today, I try to guide them but they are the ones who go out and do it," said Allardyce after Jermain Defoe's opportunist's goal sealed victory.

"They've got to be the saviours, not me. I can guide them, and help them along the way.

"You stay calm, cool and collected and try to show a bit of confidence in them, and hope they build confidence. And the only way that happens is by getting results like tonight.

"I read in the paper yesterday I was selling Defoe. This is the trouble with the window coming in January.

"I'm selling everyone apparently, then I'm asking them to play. The only one (who might move) is Liam Bridcutt. Everyone else I'm asking to come to the fight.

"I want to get the maximum from the players I have."

Former Tottenham striker Defoe nipped in between Scott Dann and Wayne Hennessey to pilfer a dire game's only goal at Selhurst Park.

Allardyce admitted his players were nervous to reprise the 3-5-2 formation that led to the 6-2 hammering at Everton on November 1.

But the former West Ham manager believes his side's second league win of the season vindicates a choice of formation he now intends to employ regularly.

"Why should I be ashamed?" said Allardyce when discussing his counter-attacking tactics.

"I've no problem winning one-nil and playing exactly the way Crystal Palace play away from home.

"If we have to be resilient, determined and dogged, that's what we'll do.

"We as a team have nullified that strength, nullified (Yannick) Bolasie and frustrated (Wilfried) Zaha.

"It's a massive victory for us and one that hopefully can instil a bit more confidence in the players.

"The players were very nervous to play that system again. It's difficult for them, because you're asking them to do something they haven't practised an awful lot.

"But the victory gives me confidence to work at it, it gives them more confidence that it can succeed too.

"The more those players get used to it the more it can be a very good attacking formation with two up top.

"The biggest problem for me was how to get Steven Fletcher and Jermain Defoe into the same starting line-up a nd today has given me a bit of a way forward."

Palace boss Alan Pardew described the game as "a painful loss" as his side slipped to their fourth defeat in seven home league games this term.

Pardew admitted Dann was at fault for the goal, but felt his side should not have been level at such a late stage in the game.

"Scott Dann's been fantastic for us, he just read that situation wrongly," said Pardew.

"He tried to ease Jermain away, got the wrong side of him and then he was in trouble.

"But he shouldn't have been in that position.

"We should have been cleaner and more incisive, especially in the last third."

Palace winger Bakary Sako suffered a hamstring strain and will be a doubt for Saturday's home Premier League clash with Newcastle.


From Belfast Telegraph