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 By PA Sport

Sam Allardyce: Crystal Palace 'the hardest' team I've had to keep up

Crystal Palace manager Sam Allardyce said his side's Premier League survival was a "massive relief" as they powered past relegation rivals Hull City at Selhurst Park.

The former England manager has never been relegated since taking his first full-time job with Blackpool in 1994 and Palace ensured he maintained that record with an emphatic 4-0 victory against Hull on Sunday.

Palace only needed a point to maintain their top-flight status and were gifted an early opening goal when Hull defender Andrea Ranocchia mistimed the ball to let in Wilfried Zaha, who slotted under goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic.

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Christian Benteke headed in to double the hosts' lead before a late penalty from Luka Milivojevic and a Patrick van Aanholt strike sealed a huge three points.

The result means Hull will play Championship football next season and Allardyce was delighted to remove the possibility of relegation for Palace ahead of the final game of the season next Sunday.

He told Sky Sports: "I think because of the run-in, the size of the teams we have had to play, this was the hardest [team to keep up]. Now, we have not wasted the magnificent results we have achieved, particularly in that short spell where we did well against Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal.

"It is a massive relief that's for sure. We all knew the implications of relegation today and the devastation it causes a football club and this football club has stayed in the Premier League for five years and wants to grow.

Christian Benteke
Christian Benteke scored Crystal Palace's second.

"It was a great effort from the players today, tactically we set out to nullify Hull City and just expose them when we thought they were weak, which is they held a high line and put a quality ball in behind, and obviously that goes off to a great start with the first goal.

"It was a perfect performance from the players today, 4-0, a clean sheet, and it is terrific for everybody that has taken part since I've been here -- not just the squad but everyone behind the scenes and the fans, in particularly in the end, who have been behind us.

"We had a little slip-up but that came through injuries really and now we have come back, in our last home game -- what a way to finish in front of your home fans. I know it puts Hull down after a brave fight but it is a great, great feeling.''

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