Sam Allardyce has told the Chronicle that he doesn’t believe Sunderland’s squad have the capabilities to play in a 4-4-2 formation.
Allardyce has been keen to keep two strikers on the pitch during his time at the Stadium of Light so far, but their results when utilising a 4-4-2 system have not been impressive.
Allardyce now feels that deploying a 3-5-2 formation - as he did in Sunderland’s latest win over Crystal Palace - is his only option when putting both Steven Fletcher and Jermain Defoe on the pitch.
“I liked the formation [3-5-2] at Everton and the only reason it didn’t work was because of our frailties in defending when we are at 2-2 and went gung-ho for the winner,” Allardyce said.
“But hopefully we can turn the Palace win into another victory on Saturday. Two wins on the trot in this position is massive.
“I’m not saying it’s going to be like that all the time.
“I’ve got options to play a different way and a different system.
“But if we are to continue playing with two up top, then I don’t think it can be a 4-4-2. I think that’s already been proven.”
If Sunderland do continue to play in a 3-5-2 shape, then Allardyce will want to see more performances of the quality that they put in at Selhurst Park.
Sunderland were much improved against Palace, with both their defensive solidity and their attacking class catching the eye.
The Black Cats managed to fend off a dangerous Palace side without looking too troubled, while they also took their chance late on, with Jermain Defoe netting a late winner.
Sunderland are now just one point away from safety, and they are next in action this weekend, when they take on Stoke City.