Sunderland share Atletico's thirst for clean sheets, says Allardyce

Sam Allardyce Press Conference Disappointed 12/02/2014

Allardyce was left thoroughly impressed by the way Atletico Madrid defended during their 1-0 win over Bayern Munich on Wednesday.

Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce has hailed Atletico Madrid's passion for defending, adding that their 1-0 win over Bayern Munich in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final was "a joy to watch".

A stout defensive performance from Diego Simeone's men ensured that Saul Niguez's 11th-minute opener proved to be enough at the Vincent Calderon, in a display that thoroughly impressed Allardyce.

Keeping clean sheets is something the 61-year-old knows all too well, with the Black Cats shutting out their opponents in three of their last four games to give their hopes of Premier League survival a significant boost. 

Saturday sees Sunderland head to a Stoke City side currently in defensive disarray, having conceded four goals in each of their last three games.

Allardyce's side travel to the Potteries knowing that their bid to preserve their Premier League status is still firmly in their own hands, after a goalless draw with Arsenal saw them climb out of the bottom three.

And after watching Simeone's men edge to a tense first-leg victory on Wednesday, Allardyce insists he sees similiarites to how he sets up his own teams, including the philosophy of putting results before entertainment. 

According to the Daily Star, he said: “Everybody goes on about goals, goals and more goals but if you want the perfect example, you take Atletico Madrid, who have a superbly drilled team which is a breath of fresh air today.

“The more goals you concede ultimately results in the bottom three, not the more goals you score.


“The fewer goals you concede, you will finish in the top half of the table irrespective of how many goals you score.

“I coach defending an awful lot but I don’t think too many teams in the Premier League or in the world of football actually coach defending anymore, certainly not the full-backs.

“Seeing Atletico Madrid beat Bayern Munich last night, how they played and how they defended what they had against one of the favourites to win the Champions League was a joy to watch.

“Defending is an art – everybody has forgotten it - it’s a tactical art to be able to sense danger and block crosses and get your toe in without fouling and they are very, very good at it."

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