London (AFP) – Everton manager Sam Allardyce is to adopt a more defensive strategy in order to prevent his side becoming embroiled in the Premier League relegation battle.
The 63-year-old engineered a revival in the club’s results when he took on the job in early December but they have fallen into another rut without a win in six matches and have lost their last four, including a 2-1 defeat by city rivals Liverpool in the FA Cup.
Allardyce, who has a proven track record in preserving the Premier League status of clubs and has never been relegated, has seen his team concede 10 goals and score just two in those four defeats.
While he hopes new recruits Theo Walcott and Turkish international Cenk Tosun will add much needed goals up front he sees his primary job as getting the defence back to the form that saw them hold Chelsea and West Bromwich Albion to successive scoreless draws late last month.
“We’ve still got a little bit to do to get away from being dragged back into the relegation zone,” Allardyce told Talksport.
“Adding a striker (Tosun) and attacking wide player (Walcott) will hopefully give us more goals.
“I’ve got to try and revert back to a more defensive structure with the team again and try to get those clean sheets that gave us so many wins when I first came here.
“We simplified the game which helped. Played a simple game to get the basics right and build the confidence back up again.”
Allardyce also believes Walcott — signed from Arsenal on Wednesday for a reported £25 million ($34 million) — will bring the goals that have been sorely lacking all season since Romelu Lukaku’s departure to Manchester United.
“It is interesting when you look at Theo’s career and the number of goals he has scored is one of the key elements why we bought him, not just his pace and ability,” said Allardyce.
“He got over 100 goals at Arsenal and he is not a player that actually got a regular place apart from last season and that was his best season when he scored 19 goals.
“Arsenal’s change of system unfortunately hasn’t allowed him to get in much this season.”
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