Sunderland chief Sam Allardyce seeks inspiration from Atletico Madrid to frustrate Norwich City ahead of Premier League clash
- Credit: PA
Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce aims to emulate Atletico Madrid's obdurate Champions League aggregate victory over Barcelona when he brings the Black Cats to Norwich City for Saturday's Premier League relegation showdown.
Atleti frustrated the Catalan aristocrats to knock the holders out of this season's competition following a 2-0 quarter-final, second leg win in Madrid on Wednesday to seal a 3-2 aggregate success.
Allardyce took note ahead of his side's bid to move within a point of the Canaries at Carrow Road.
'I watched that game and you got this immaculate performance from the opposition against the so-called best club team in the world,' he said, on Thursday afternoon. 'And realistically all ends up, every tactic that Atletico used worked better than every tactic Barcelona used, and they won the game 2-0. For us playing away from home, the more and more we frustrate Norwich, the more and better chance we have got of winning the game.'
Sunderland are currently four points adrift of the Canaries, and safety, with a game in hand, but they know just how crucial Saturday's encounter between the two clubs could prove.
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The Black Cats will run out at Carrow Road having seen a run of four successive draws ended by last Sunday's 2-0 defeat by champions elect Leicester, but acutely aware that they have squandered match-winning opportunities having got themselves to within minutes of beating Southampton and Newcastle and failing to see off West Brom, but Allardyce has learned to handle the frustration.
'I probably wouldn't have done in the early days,' he said. 'I'd have probably blown my top and smashed a few cups and broken a few doors. But it's not relevant for today in the way society has changed to really act like that anymore.
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'It would hurt immensely if the club got relegated, for the club's sake first, not mine. I've had a fantastic career. I would be disappointed if I had that one relegation against my managerial career from the Premier League. It would hurt, yes, but it's more important for the club than it is for me. As a football club, it's more important for the players than it is for me in terms of my career.
'My career will take whatever way and whatever form it needs to take; the players, most of them will never get a club better than this, in my opinion, with its facilities and its supporters, playing in the top league in the world, and they really need to realise that.'