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Frustrated Allardyce accepts Palace players are struggling

A frustrated Sam Allardyce has blamed his "struggling" Crystal Palace players for failing to follow his instructions on the pitch.

Palace are second from bottom in the Premier League after losing six of their last seven league games, with Allardyce thus far unable to replicate the escape act he orchestrated at Sunderland last season.

The former England manager has overseen a solitary league victory since succeeding Alan Pardew in December and he criticised Palace's players ahead of a crucial home game against relegation rivals Middlesbrough on Saturday.

"I've not managed to sort this club out as quick as I have the others, that's the frustration for me," Allardyce told reporters.

"I haven't had as big an influence as I'd expected here, in terms of results. I'm struggling with players keeping the message and game plan."

Allardyce, who previously kept Bolton, Blackburn Rovers and West Ham in the Premier League, said his players have to play an "uglier" brand of football and show a willingness to battle their way out of relegation danger.

"Go and remember back to the good times, when you played really well," Allardyce said. "Watch those games, see how you played and bring it on Saturday.

"We're in a fight, a scrap. We've got to be uglier than we have been. The players have to accept a lot of them have not played to their best consistently. They need to stop being too negative about themselves. The fans can pass nervous energy to the players and vice versa. We've all got to stay positive. Our responsibility is to remove nervousness."

Allardyce also expressed shock at Thursday's sacking of Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri nine months after the Italian led the club to the Premier League title.

"I was surprised by that one more than any other dismissal this year," he said.

"We all accept that you don't get long in this game these days, but on the basis of what he had done last year with them, I thought the result at Sevilla was a vote of confidence, but it ended up becoming the dreaded vote of confidence again.

"It is a great shame that his reign with them has come to an end after such history-making events last year which I think will not be repeated again by a team with such resources."