An apologetic Sam Allardyce admitted Crystal Palace “fear” playing at Selhurst Park after a 4-0 thrashing from fellow Premier League strugglers Sunderland.
Palace have claimed just seven points in 12 matches at home this season, and they were roundly booed by the home faithful after a five-minute spell before half-time saw them concede three goals.
One fan entered the pitch to remonstrate with centre-back Damien Delaney as he made his way towards the tunnel for the interval.
Allardyce, who won his first top-flight game as Palace manager against Bournemouth in midweek, offered an apology to the supporters for his side’s display
“Today was all about the fear once the first goal went in. They lost control. You have to keep control mentally when you go a goal down,” he said in his post-match media conference.
“It’s apparent now that the players are struggling. I’ve got to get rid of that fear and get them playing much better.
“I saw it against Swansea [a 2-1 defeat last month] and again today – we’ve lost to teams below us and there’s been that fear.
“We have to overcome that fear we have playing here. The fans want to support them, but we’ve got to give them something to get behind.
“I apologise to the fans for what they’ve seen.
“Sunderland were gifted four goals and could then sit back and frustrate us.
“It’s been a problem all season. Seven points at home all season – I’ve got to turn that around.”
Delaney did not return for the second half with Andros Townsend sent on in his place, a move Allardyce assured was simply to switch from a three-man defence to a back four.
“We played a good game with that system at Bournemouth, but completely lost it here at home. I had to change it,” he said.
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