(Reuters) - Crystal Palace’s Premier League game against Hull City on Sunday is massive and “bigger than a cup final” as both teams fight to avoid the drop, manager Sam Allardyce has said.
An impressive run in April saw Palace climb to 12th in the table but three consecutive defeats, including last Saturday’s 5-0 loss to Manchester City has left them at 16th, four points above 18th-placed Hull, with two games left to play.
A draw at home against Hull will ensure safety for Palace but a loss will leave their fate hanging till the last day of the season, when they travel to fifth-placed Manchester United.
”The game is bigger than a cup final,“ Allardyce told British media. ”Because at stake is everyone’s status in the Premier League.
”You are part of one of the biggest sporting brands in the world. It keeps the club buoyant and the south London area active and live.
“So it is a massive game for us all, and our players have to hold their nerve and produce a massive performance.”
Allardyce said that his players’ mental strength is key to getting past the final two games of the season.
“Put your best game in your mind for the rest of the week and say to yourself on a daily basis, ‘that is what I am going to produce’,” Allardyce added.
“Mindful rehearsal is very important. If the players get positive thinking right from the start of the week, it will help them with a nervy state of affairs.”
Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru; editing by Sudipto Ganguly