Sam Allardyce laments Crystal Palace's defensive errors against Manchester City
By Patrick Surlis
Last Updated: 06/05/17 3:39pm
Sam Allardyce felt defensive errors cost Crystal Palace dearly as they slipped to a 5-0 defeat at Manchester City on Saturday.
Injuries to Mamadou Sakho, Scott Dann and James Tomkins forced Allardyce into a reshuffle and the Palace boss started the match with a 5-4-1 formation.
But the visitors quickly changed to a back four after David Silva opened the scoring after just two minutes at the Etihad.
The five-goal scoreline matches Palace's joint-biggest defeat in a Premier League game but Allardyce said the system had little bearing on their defensive vulnerabilities.
"I don't think the five or the four had anything to do with the first goal," he told Sky Sports. "If Martin Kelly heads it out properly, we defend the corner.
"I just didn't feel the lads were comfortable as I felt they might be playing in a back five to stop City attacking with their four. We went back to a four and we got better from that point of view.
"Going forward, we got a few counter-attacking opportunities but our final-third play let us down today as well as our defensive play.
"Both ends of the pitch were very poor from where we got recently. We deserved to get punished like we did.
"Our strength has come from our good solid defensive unit and that today was in tatters, sadly."
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Christian Benteke went close to an equaliser for Palace before half-time but City ran riot after the break, adding four more goals.
"It could have been 1-1 at half-time with the chances we carved out," Allardyce added. "We recovered really well from what was a poor goal from our point of view.
"It doesn't matter what system you pick or play, if you make mistakes like we made today. All five of the goals were avoidable from our point of view.
"When you play Manchester City you can accept the task you lose sometimes because of their brilliant talent. But we didn't make them have to produce their brilliant talent, we gifted five goals to them.
"We were punished severely by giving them opportunities to score."
The defeat means Palace are not mathematically safe yet and they face relegation rivals Hull City next weekend, live on Sky Sports.
"It's in our hands. We have to do it ourselves," Allardyce continued. "We have to be man enough and brave enough to do it ourselves, especially after what we've achieved recently.
"[It's] three defeats on the trot, like I said to the players, all you had to do was keep getting the draw, keep getting the point, and you've not done that.
"It could have been achieved against Tottenham but wasn't. [We] gifted the points to Burnley by not staying in the game at 1-0 and today we didn't deserve anything."