Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Allardyce: Focusing on defence is the way to go

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 23 Nov 2015

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Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce was thrilled to beat Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park and thinks it proved his desire to improve his team’s defending is the right approach.

The Black Cats picked up only their second league win this season – and first on the road – thanks to Jermain Defoe’s goal 10 minutes from time as he capitalised on a defensive mix-up involving defender Scott Dann and goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey.

Allardyce, who celebrated his 150th Premier League win as a manager, feels his tactical tweak to a five-man backline, and an overall desire to improve Sunderland’s defending, was vital.

“It is a massive result for us and it is no coincidence that zero goals against has got us a victory,” he told Sky Sports.

“Our two clean sheets of this season have got us six points, so it is the way to go and really always has been the way to go when you play the game of football. 

“We frustrated the crowd and frustrated Crystal Palace and then we come out with a fantastic three points and a great victory for us – our first away win of the season. 

“Keeping the crowd quiet here is very difficult because the team has a lot of players that get in wide areas and put the ball in the box, but we dealt with it extremely well with the five at the back.

“We were defensively sound and rarely troubled in front of the opposition’s goal. There was pressure on us, but not really great chances created by Crystal Palace. 

“The longer it went on the more anxious they got and the more spaces they left, which in the end little Jermain capitalised on – a little bit of a mix up between the goalkeeper and the centre half and there he is putting the ball in the back of the net.”

Monday’s win sees Sunderland move above AFC Bournemouth and up to 18th place, only one point behind rivals Newcastle United.

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