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Palace squad swayed Allardyce on coach job

Press Association logoPress Association 23/12/2016

Sam Allardyce has revealed his desire to return to management so soon after his surprise exit from England had been motivated by a desire to work with the Crystal Palace squad.

Allardyce, as widely anticipated, was appointed on Friday night as Palace boss on a two-and-a-half-year deal, taking him back into club management less than three months after his departure from the national team.

In September, the 62-year-old stood down from what he said was his dream job after just 67 days and one match in charge, having made ill-advised comments while in conversation with undercover reporters in a newspaper sting.

The issue was not mentioned in a four-and-a-half-minute interview with Allardyce on Palace's official website, as they unveiled their new manager just a day on from ending Alan Pardew's near two-year tenure with the club.

But Allardyce, who will be in the Palace hot seat for their Boxing Day clash at Watford, admitted the lure of the English Premier League and the chance to work with talents such as Yohan Cabaye, Wilfried Zaha and Christian Benteke was behind his swift return to management.

"It's the best league in the world - I don't think anybody doubts that. As difficult and as pressurised as it is, it's where I've been comfortable for many years now," Allardyce said.

"I hope I can bring some joy, particularly over Christmas and new year, and over the long term between now and the end of the season.

"I like the look of the squad and that's probably the reason that I'm here, because I feel that the club can go forward from here and, hopefully, I can help it go forward."

While Allardyce is excited by the players he will work with, he inherits a side low on confidence after just one win in 11 EPL matches, a run that resulted in Pardew's dismissal.

Pardew's more-expansive style of play, which brought just six EPL wins in 2016 but also took the Eagles to the FA Cup final last season, also came under criticism following his departure.

Palace chairman Steve Parish on Thursday pledged to "wind the dial back the other way" from Pardew's attack-minded approach.

And Allardyce admitted tightening up a defence that had conceded 32 goals in 17 matches this season was top priority.

"I've got a very important job in stopping the goals going in at the other end first, to be perfectly honest.

"When we're not in possession, we've just got to stop conceding goals and make sure that those goals we score win us games now. It sounds simple, but it's not that easy and that's what we've got to try and turn around.

"(The target) first and foremost is just to say 'let's stop losing'. That's the object - to try and find the basis of consistency that brings us some results."

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