Allardyce wants win over Burnley to secure Palace’s Premier League place
Sam Allardyce believes one more win would rubber-stamp Crystal Palace’s Premier League survival – but he has warned his players the three points will not come easy against Burnley on Saturday.
The former England boss has guided the Eagles to 12th in the table after a run of six wins from nine games moved them clear of the relegation zone.
A narrow 1-0 home defeat to title-chasing Tottenham checked Palace’s progress but they have recorded impressive victories over Liverpool, Arsenal and leaders Chelsea in recent weeks.
Allardyce also still has to take his side to both Manchester City and Manchester United before the end of the campaign, with a visit from struggling Burnley up next.
Sean Dyche’s men are just five points clear of the bottom three after a poor spell which has seen them win just once since January.
But Allardyce is keen to stress to his in-form stars that the Clarets will pose a different threat to that which they have overcome of late, with Palace sat on 38 points ahead of the Selhurst Park clash.
“We have to recognise the importance of Burnley being just as important as any of the games we have gone through,” he said.
“The lads need to motivate themselves to get to the level they have been to beat Burnley and put it to bed once and for all, get past the 40-point mark and be safe. It is a big effort I will be asking for the players to give.
“Everyone says ‘keep your mouth shut’ you don’t want it to bite you back but I think 41 points will be enough. I think I remember at Blackburn going to Chelsea away and being told we were safe.
“You have a Premier League plan and a Championship plan, hopefully you rub the Championship one out and write the Premier League one in ink. We are just sketching it in in pencil at the moment.”
Palace will be without Liverpool loanee Mamadou Sakho for the game after the defender suffered what could prove to be a serious knee injury during the loss to Spurs.
Damien Delaney is likely to deputise.
Burnley boss Dyche will not care if the season ends with his failing to break their away hoodoo, provided they preserve their Premier League status in spite of it.
The Clarets have just two attempts left to try and record their first triumph on their travels, one at Crystal Palace this Saturday and the final one at Bournemouth two weeks later, to avoid becoming only the seventh team in Premier League history not to win an away game all season.
The last four teams that endured such a barren run on the road were also relegated, yet 10 home wins have put Burnley in a prime position to avoid the drop, and that remains Dyche’s chief concern rather than whether they can finally banish their away-day blues.
“Points on the board – I’ve said it all season, it’s all I’m interested in,” the Burnley manager said.
“That’s all I’ll be judged on, that’s all the club will be judged on, that’s all the players will be judged on.
“It’s not because I sweep things under the carpet, I mean it 100 per cent. Points on the board this season is what it’s about and can you get enough in the Premier League?
“It’s not about the balance (between home and away). I’m happy with the points. The balance becomes irrelevant because the big call is come the last game, whereabouts are you in the league?
“Moving forward, after one season, you might say, ‘Right, we’re a different animal now. We’ve survived the first season against all the odds, now what can we do?’ Can we win away? Move the club forward? Go home and away winning games?
“Your first spell is getting it over the line; that’s the challenge at the beginning of the season. It wasn’t you win here, there or wherever, it was can you get enough points on the board? It’s still the challenge now.”