Sunderland looking to emulate Juventus – Allardyce

Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce wants the club to be like Italian champions Juventus in order to lift themselves away from the relegation zone.

Allardyce reverted to a five-man defensive backline as Sunderland stunned Crystal Palace 1-0 on Monday but admits he feared a potential backlash for a supposed negative approach.

Sam Allardyce

Sunderland won at Selhurst Park despite recording just 33 per cent possession and Allardyce is mindful of falling victim to their own tactics when they host Stoke City on Saturday.

“You win games away from home by having less possession than the opposition, and you suck them in and then you hit them in the spaces they leave,” said Allardyce, who has led Sunderland to two wins from five matches and within a point of safety since replacing Dick Advocaat last month.

“We have not got to be sucked into that scenario playing at the Stadium of Light.

“Attacking Stoke is what we want to do, but attack with caution because they have the type of players that can hurt you an awful lot if you leave too many spaces. We have to get that balance right.

“We have to be careful we don’t get sucked in and get hit by the punch.

“There is a huge pressure to win the home games and entertain your fans. People pay good money and want to be entertained and want goals. That pressure on players at home is getting greater and their capabilities dealing with that is important.

“If you are coming with fear and trepidation it is difficult to perform.”

Allardyce understands the desires of the fans to play an attractive brand of football but feels results are what count, citing Juventus as his reference.

He explained: “I didn’t want to let it out, even to Sky. Normally I give them the team, but I rolled all the way through to keep them guessing!

“I watched Juventus play, at home, the same system and beat Man City [in the Champions League].

“If there is a negative force about that system, which tends to be in this country; ‘Ooh! Five at the back! Too defensive!’ — Juventus is winning the league with it, and get to the final of the Champions League with it.”

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