Allardyce hails defence after Sunderland narrowly defeat Palace
Photo source: Chronicle Live

Sam Allardyce was thrilled with his Sunderland defence on Monday night after they beat Crystal Palace 1-0.

It was only the Black Cats' second league win of the season, following a 3-0 result at home to local rivals Newcastle United last month, and their first on the road, giving them a well needed three points.

Allardyce's decision to play with three centre-halves and two wing-backs was pivotal in the victory, proving to be far more successful this time out then when it was used in the 6-2 defeat at Everton, and the manager did not hesitate in praising his defenders for their effort.

Clean sheet very important

Speaking to Sky Sports after the win, Allardyce said that the result was a "massive" one for the team, and one that was heavily down to the defensive efforts of his side, saying that the clean sheet "got [them] the victory."

He continued, saying that the fact that they leaked no goals and won was "no coincidence," with the stats now showing that Sunderland's "two clean sheets of this season have got [them] three points," the manager added.

Going by this, he said that building from the back "is the way to go" and "really always has been" in football, which is why he has emphasised its importance since arriving on Wearside.

"We were defensively sound," the 61-year-old continued, saying that Palace "rarely troubled" them on the night despite them putting "pressure on."

Black Cats silence Selhurst Park

As well as talking about the importance of his side's defence, Allardyce stressed the significance of the team keeping Palace's fans quiet.

He said that their strong back line "frustrated the crowd" as well as their opponents, helping them "come out with a fantastic three points."

The manager believes that "keeping the crowd quiet [at Selhurst Park] is very difficult," as Palace have some great showmen, such as Wilfried Zaha and Yannick Bolasie, who "get in wide areas and put the ball in the box."

However, he thinks that "the five in the back" meant Sunderland "dealt" with this threat "extremely well" as they went on to record "a great victory."

Having absorbed a lot of pressure, the Black Cats were able to capitalise on the break to snatch the win 10 minutes from time too, Jermain Defoe nicking the winner after a Scott Dann error.

Allardyce believes this mistake happened because "the longer [the game] went on, the more anxious [Palace] got and the more spaces they left" - spaces which were exploited by Defoe in particular when he caused "a little bit of a mix up" to help his side to a huge three points.

Sunderland remain in the relegation zone even with this win, but they are only one point and one place from safety now, with Newcastle sitting just above them.