March 8, 2017 / 10:45 AM / 5 months ago

Tomkins hails Sakho impact on Palace defence

Britain Football Soccer - Crystal Palace v Middlesbrough - Premier League - Selhurst Park - 16/17 - 25/2/17 Crystal Palace's Mamadou Sakho Reuters / Hannah McKay

(Reuters) - On-loan Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho's composure in the heart of defence has been instrumental in Crystal Palace winning back-to-back Premier League games to climb three points clear of the relegation zone, fellow centre back James Tomkins has said.

Palace kept consecutive clean sheets while beating Middlesbrough and West Bromwich Albion in their last two games with Sakho in the starting line-up, taking their total to four clean sheets in the league this season.

"Mamadou has come in and he's good to play alongside because he is so chilled and calm," Tomkins told the club website (www.cpfc.co.uk) of the French international, who joined Palace until the end of the season in January.

"He's been brilliant and I am enjoying my time as we learn from each other and let's hope it can keep going," he added.

"It's so big to be keeping clean sheets in the Premier League and it's something the manager has always been big on."

Palace, who host Watford on March 18, have offered plenty of attacking threat this season, and wingers Andros Townsend and Wilfried Zaha both scored in their 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion last weekend.

"It's good for the two lads to get the goals, Andros works really hard and you see that with the effort he puts in and we all know what Wilf is capable of doing, the fans have seen that for years now," Tomkins added.

"It's good for them to both play so well and massive for us to see them get the two goals."

Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru

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