Friday, March 24, 2017

Allardyce doubts Palace focus ahead of Newcastle trip

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 28 Apr 2016

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Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce believes Crystal Palace will not try as hard to beat relegation-threatened Newcastle United as Alan Pardew’s men look ahead to the FA Cup final.

Palace booked their spot in next month’s FA Cup decider at Wembley after seeing off Watford 2-1 last week.

Pardew and Co. must now turn their attention to Saturday’s trip to Newcastle, who are involved in a relegation scrap with Sunderland.

Sunderland are outside of the relegation zone on goal difference with a game in hand, a point clear of 19th-placed Newcastle.

And Allardyce, whose Sunderland face Stoke City on Saturday, feels Palace will not be mentally ready as they try to avoid injury during their visit to St James’ Park.

“Newcastle will win on Saturday, I’d have a bet on that if I could,” said Allardyce. “Newcastle pose the bigger threat [than Norwich] to our survival.

“I think they’ll beat Palace and they’ve got [Aston] Villa, then it depends on what Spurs do there. So I think they’ll win at least two. 

“Palace are in the FA Cup final and they would all have been celebrating, they would all have been on the pop [alcohol].

“They won’t be mentally ready for it and neither will Alan [Pardew], because he’ll be thinking about the final now, not thinking about Newcastle away.

“You’re not going to stop the lads celebrating having got through to a final, particularly Crystal Palace, because it’s such a good achievement for the club, the fans, Alan and the owner, there is such euphoria around the place.

“It may well serve in reverse. He could say, ‘Off you go lads, go and play today and relax, the result doesn’t matter as much’ and they might win.

“But it could go the other way, ‘Ooh, I’ve had a good couple of days off and I don’t want to get injured for the final, I might just stay out of that tackle’. Who knows? I suspect it might be the latter.”

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