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 By PA Sport

Sam Allardyce: No need to coach tackling in modern football

Crystal Palace boss Sam Allardyce admitted that he does not coach his side on tackling ahead of their clash against Arsenal.

Palace host their London rivals at Selhurst Park on Monday night on the back of a 3-1 defeat against Southampton on Wednesday. The loss ended an impressive four-match winning streak as Palace look to avoid relegation from the Premier League.

Monday's fixture sees Allardyce resume his touchline rivalry with a familiar foe in Arsene Wenger. The men have clashed on numerous occasions, with the Frenchman not always keen on physicality.

But with the rules of the game changing, the former England boss Allardyce revealed that in recent years he has adopted a new approach from those teams he previously managed but remained defiant on the philosophy which earned him a reputation.

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"Well, we don't coach tackling anymore because it's very difficult to get away with even a good tackle today." Allardyce said. "We train players to intercept and stay on their feet rather than go around and tackle them like they used to.

"We have to temper that side of it down because it's too easy for a player to get booked now and if that player continues to get booked then you lose him for two games.

"We've got [Wenger] complaining at times about the physical aspect. [But] it's difficult to bully a team now because of the laws of the game and the protection the players rightly get. Even a good tackle could get you a card because it's said to be over-aggressive.

"I will never accept that in my entire life, that a player who takes the ball and then takes the man is over-aggressive, it's just nonsense.

"But unfortunately FIFA brought that rule in, the referees have to try and assess what is over-aggressive but I don't think you can bully a team, perhaps like the earlier days when I first started as a manager."

Meanwhile, the Eagles currently sit three points above the drop zone but with a tough run-in of fixtures, including five of the current top six, Allardyce's side have been hit with an extensive injury list.

With Palace having up to nine first-team players unavailable, Allardyce is hoping his medical staff can help their charge to retain Premier League status as they begin their tough run of fixtures on Monday.

Allardyce said: "Looking at the injury list this morning, having got through most of March and into beginning of April when the team did not need to be changed, apart from tactically, we're now faced with a long list of injuries.

"Patrick van Aanholt, [Scott] Dann, [James] Tomkins, [James] McArthur, [Fraizer] Campbell, [Yohan] Cabaye picked up an injury, and then there's the long-term injuries to [Connor] Wickham, [Pape] Souare and Loic Remy.

"Hopefully the medical staff can work vigorously in the next two weeks to get them back on the pitch again."


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