Sam Allardyce on the importance of substitutes for his side in relegation run-in

Allardyce deflated

Allardyce has seen two of his substitutes strike in recent games.

Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce has spoken of the importance of his substitutes as in the past two games they have managed to strike at crucial times for the club.

Fabio Borini came off the bench to score a wonderful equalising goal in the 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace, while Jermain Defoe was introduced against Southampton and managed to give the Black Cats the lead last time out, only for them to concede a late equaliser in a 1-1 draw.

Allardyce told the Sunderland Echo: “The stronger your bench, the easier it is to make a decision to help the team.

“If you can keep everyone fit, it provides a challenge to all the other players who are in the starting XI.

“They know they need to play well because there’s another guy breathing down their neck.

“The competition is pretty healthy from that point of view."

Certainly with more options available to him, it should drive up the standards of the squad and can keep the opposition guessing is there is more than a regular XI players to choose from. 

It's all the more crucial when you are scrapping for Premier League survival like Sunderland are - as they are currently a point above the drop zone going into the business end of the season.

Having someone who can make an impact from the bench gives the players on the field a lift, and can put opponents on the back foot a little. Playing the same XI over and over again can be a little stale. It's of little wonder that Allardyce likes the idea of keeping an ace up his sleeve.

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