Allardyce: It’s the start of the recovery for Palace

Date published: Saturday 4th March 2017 8:48

Sam Allardyce hailed the start of the recovery after Crystal Palace climbed out of the Premier League relegation zone with a hard-fought win at West Brom.

Superb second-half goals from Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend earned Palace a 2-0 victory over their former manager Tony Pulis at The Hawthorns.

Palace have now won successive games for the first time under Allardyce and, after a frustrating start to his tenure with the Eagles, his work now seems to be bearing fruit.

The Palace boss said: “It’s the start of the recovery, I would say, with back-to-back wins and the performance, both in and out of possession.

“Out of possession gave us the platform for victory and then the ask for better quality in the final third came with two outstanding pieces of quality.

“The first was Wilfried’s goal with the diagnal ball, a precision pass taken on his chest, bang, in the back of the net. Then the top goal of our season – I don’t know if anyone in the Premier League will beat that one today – of Andros Townsend running from his own half, dribbling all the way into opposition’s box and just seeing West Brom off.

“That has been a great lift for us all. We have got both sides of the game right today. We got the basics in place, nullified the opposition’s attack, limited them to very few chances on their own ground, kept the crowd quiet and punished them when we got the opportunity.”

Allardyce laughed of suggestions of needle between Palace striker Christian Benteke and West Brom defender Jonny Evans, who needed his head bandaged after a first-half collision.

Allardyce said: “It’s a pretty soft game if there are no afters anymore. If you want to know about afters, have a chat with me later and I’ll tell you what real afters are. If you get wound up by afters you shouldn’t be playing the professional game.”

Allardyce confirmed defender Patrick van Aanholt suffered ankle ligament damage and was unlikely to be fit for Palace’s next game against Watford in a fortnight.

“It’s not too good,” he said. “I’d find it difficult to think he would be fit in two weeks, but in three he should be all right.”

Pulis bemoaned West Brom’s performance after his side had gone into the game in good form and looking for a fifth successive home win.

Pulis said: “We were tepid right from the beginning, there was no spark. We needed someone to give us that bit of a lift in what was always going to be a tight game.

“I don’t think any of our players have played to the level they could have. Our players have been fantastic so far, so I put it down to one of those games. If I knew why, I’d be a genius.”

Pulis is currently involved in a legal dispute with Palace but insisted the loss did not hurt more because of matters off the pitch.

He said: “I hold my head up high for what I did at Palace, irrespective of all the stuff that is going on. I had eight months there and they were in dire straits. I have nothing to be ashamed of.

“It hurt because it was a home game more than anything else, because our home form has been so good.”

Pulis was taunted by the visiting fans but that did not bother him.

He said: “That’s the game, that’s life. I have no problems with it.”

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