Crystal Palace 4, Hull City 0
Crystal Palace manager Sam Allardyce called upon the club’s hierarchy to open the chequebook this summer in order to avoid a repeat of this season’s relegation fight, which finally dissipated with a win over Hull City at Selhurst Park.
Wilfried Zaha, Christian Benteke, Luka Milivojevic and Patrick van Aanholt scored as the south Londoners sent Hull back down the Championship and secured their Premier League survival for a fifth successive season.
Allardyce, who took over on December 23 with Palace 17th, praised the January signings of the likes of Mamadou Sakho, Milivojevic and Van Aanholt for instigating the recovery but added that further spending was now required.
“I think the next level of recruitment is critical to the team being more consistent and achieving more in the Premier League rather than a fight against relegation,” he said.
“Our recruitment in January and the finances found by the owners were critical to this major escape that we’ve just achieved.”
The triumphant afternoon capped what has been a topsy turvy 12 months for Allardyce that started with him keeping Sunderland in the Premier League and later saw him appointed and dismissed as England manager in record time before he took over at Crystal Palace.
It’s not something I planned of course,” said Allardyce.
“The achievement of Sunderland, the disappointment of England and the saving of Crystal Palace. Steve [Parish, Palace chairman] saw that we needed the change and thought I was the man. We’ve done it all together.”
Hull manager Marco Silva, meanwhile, said he needed a frank discussion with Tigers owner Assem Allam before he decides whether to stay on Humberside.
“It’s the moment to first talk to the chairman and the board, to understand the club needs to do something to different,” said the Portuguese.
The mistakes made by his men at Selhurst Park were glaring. After three minutes Hull centre-back Andrea Ranocchia found nothing but air with a wild clearance attempt, allowing the ball to run through to Zaha who duly slotted home.
Zaha, later named Palace fans’ player of the year, was a constant menace to a Hull side that dominated possession in pursuit of an equaliser but looked more likely to concede from a counter-attack.
Their survival hopes turned from dim to desperate after 34 minutes when more slack defending allowed an unmarked Benteke to head in Andros Townsend’s corner without even having to brush shoulders with Hull’s back-line.
Palace happily soaked up the Hull’s pressure and ran riot in the final moments of the second half.
Milivojevic dispatched a penalty awarded for Michael Dawson’s wayward lunge on Jeffrey Schlupp on 85 minutes, before James McArthur fed Patrick van Aanholt to pass into the net and give the home fans one final reason to cheer.