LONDON (Reuters) - Everton manager Sam Allardyce dismissed last weekend’s 5-1 rout at Arsenal as a blip on Thursday despite labelling it a “disaster” full of “pathetic” performances in an emotionally charged interview straight after the match.
A much more conciliatory Allardyce sought to explain away the defeat at a news conference when he called on his players to deliver the right reaction in Saturday’s home game against Crystal Palace.
“It’s a blip that we have to get over quickly,” he said. “An Arsenal team as good as that punishes a lot of teams and punishes a lot of teams on their soil.
“We struggled to cope in the first 35 minutes. There was a spirited recovery by the players that is forgotten about when you see 5-1 but we need to react properly.”
Allardyce defended his on-loan centre half Eliaquim Mangala after his difficult debut at the heart of the defence against Arsenal.
“You can only make an impact if other players are playing to their capabilities and they weren’t,” he said of the Manchester City defender.
“There wasn’t anything wrong with his performance in the second half. Only I would know that because it’s my job to study the game.”
Allardyce next faces his former club managed by another former England manager in Roy Hodgson and he believes the absence of forward Wilfried Zaha, ruled out for a month with a knee injury, could give Everton the edge.
“We have to be concerned about Palace’s strengths but Zaha not playing could be an advantage. That being said, we will have to be at our best game to beat Crystal Palace. They’re very resilient, so hats off to Roy and his players,” Allardyce said.
Although Everton are 10th in the table, they sit just four points above Palace and seven clear of the relegation zone.
“We need to avoid the threat of relegation and it needs to start with Crystal Palace,” Allardyce said. “We need to focus on our own form. We’ve only lost one since I got here (at home). Our home form is very good.”
Reporting by Neil Robinson, editing by Ed Osmond