December 15, 2017 / 12:15 PM / a year ago

Allardyce believes defensive mettle can help Everton's attack

(Reuters) - Everton’s defensive stability in recent games can serve as a platform for the team to express themselves more freely at the other end of the pitch, manager Sam Allardyce said ahead of Monday’s Premier League clash against Swansea City.

Soccer Football - Premier League - Newcastle United vs Everton - St James' Park, Newcastle, Britain - December 13, 2017 Everton manager Sam Allardyce celebrates after the match

Everton are 10th in the league with 22 points after six wins, four draws and seven defeats and are on a four-game unbeaten run in which they have kept three clean sheets.

“We look like we’re defensively sound now and now it’s about expanding on that,” Allardyce told a news conference on Friday.

“We have to be more expansive — not lose that defensive solidarity but be more creative and more accomplished because in the games down the line we’ll have to break down teams or we’ll have to play the big boys and try and get results.”

The experienced Allardyce was faced with what looked like a relegation battle when he replaced Dutchman Ronald Koeman at the Merseyside club.

After a 4-0 win over West Ham United in caretaker boss David Unsworth’s final game, Everton beat Huddersfield Town 2-0 in Allardyce’s first game before they held local rivals Liverpool to a 1-1 draw and defeated Newcastle United 1-0 on Wednesday.

“The credit goes to the players who have achieved so much in a short period of time. Ten points in four games is a miraculous recovery and has put the club in a pretty stable position.

“That allows me to think a little bigger than perhaps when I first came in about sustaining our position in the top half and about improving the players.”

Yannick Bolasie, who has not featured for the club since suffering a knee injury against Manchester United last December, could be in line for a return against Swansea.

Swansea are bottom of the league with 12 points and have lost seven of their last nine games this season.

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru Editing by Jeremy Gaunt

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