Sam Allardyce confident Crystal Palace can cope with pressure against Hull
Sam Allardyce has dismissed suggestions Crystal Palace will struggle to cope with the pressure in their crucial clash against Hull on Sunday.
A draw would preserve Palace’s Premier League status but Hull would realistically need three points to prevent relegation after Swansea’s win at Sunderland put them four points ahead of the Tigers with a superior goal difference.
An impressive run of victories, including against Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea, took Palace to the verge of safety until three consecutive defeats ensured they remain in contention to go down.
Allardyce has repeatedly spoken about the need for his team to handle the pressure of the occasion on Sunday, but in previous fixtures Palace have underperformed.
In January, during his third match in charge, they were poor throughout a 2-1 home defeat by Swansea, and a month later they were even worse when they lost 4-0 at Selhurst Park to Sunderland.
Victories against the league’s leading teams also suggests Palace thrive when they are given little chance, but of those defeats boss Allardyce said: “That was a different team. Way back then was before we brought in all the players we did.
“We started our run after Sunderland; we lost to Stoke and then after that started to lift the players by the new signings playing very, very well, and the players already here gaining confidence from that and growing.
“We’ve had big pressure games this season many times, but the pressure comes on when the games go into single figures, and now it’s only two games.
“When it’s still another six, four or nine left, that alleviates the pressure somewhat, but when it’s only two the pressure comes on. On the day, we’ve got to handle the pressure better than them and deliver a performance.”
Marco Silva is convinced his players can bounce back and secure victory at Crystal Palace to keep their survival hopes alive.
Belief has been the buzz word at Hull’s training ground in Cottingham following last week’s home defeat to Sunderland, a huge setback which plunged them back into the relegation zone with two games to go.
The Tigers, who have won just one league game on the road all season, had hoped their home form under Silva would be their salvation.
But after Swansea’s win, Silva’s side must win away for the first time since August to give themselves a fighting chance going into the final day.
“It’s like two cup finals now to us,” said Silva, whose contract runs out at the end of the season.
“We need to win the games. We need to win the next one first.
“We’ll play it like a final and after we’ll look to the next week, but we continue to believe and that’s most important.
“The players have worked really hard during the week. We haven’t changed anything but of course have analysed the last game.
“We understand what we need to do differently, but we keep all together, we keep going together and we keep fighting for the next game.
“I believe we can win the next game.”