By North-east correspondent Harry Sykes
Alan Pardew condemned Sam Allardyce for making “prehistoric” comments in the build-up to Newcastle’s 1-0 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday.
Allardyce claimed Palace’s players will have been partying all week on the “pop” (alcohol) after securing a place in the FA Cup final and would not have been willing to put their bodies on the line against Newcastle out of fear of picking up an injury.
The Sunderland manager’s comments were interpreted by many as a thinly veiled attempt to provoke Pardew’s side into helping Sunderland’s survival push.
In turn, Pardew appeared to have been disappointed by Allardyce’s mind game after pushing Newcastle so close on Saturday.
Speaking to Radio Five Live on Saturday evening, the Palace manager said of Allardyce: “They’re pre-historic comments. I don’t know what era he’s in.
“Three or four of my players don’t drink. Perhaps he meant Coca-Cola. It’s nonsense.”
Sunderland, Newcastle and Norwich are locked in a three-way battle to stay in the Premier League, with two of them set to join relegated Aston Villa in the Championship next season.
Benitez’s side climbed to 17th in the Premier League on 33 points and have accumulated eight points in their last four matches. They are one point ahead of Sunderland, who drew on Saturday.
“Newcastle will win on Saturday, I’d have a bet on that if I could,” said Allardyce as quoted by the Telegraph, ahead of Sunderland’s trip to Stoke City on Saturday. “Newcastle pose the bigger threat [than Norwich] to our survival.
“Palace are in the FA Cup final and they would all have been celebrating, they would all have been on the pop [alcohol]. They won’t be mentally ready for it and neither will Alan [Pardew], because he’ll be thinking about the final now, not thinking about Newcastle away.
“You’re not going to stop the lads celebrating having got through to a final, particularly Crystal Palace, because it’s such a good achievement for the club, the fans, Alan and the owner, there is such euphoria around the place.
“It may well serve in reverse. He could say, ‘Off you go lads, go and play today and relax, the result doesn’t matter as much’ and they might win.
“But it could go the other way, ‘Ooh, I’ve had a good couple of days off and I don’t want to get injured for the final, I might just stay out of that tackle’. Who knows? I suspect it might be the latter.”
In other Newcastle news, the club are preparing a summer move for a 26-year-old Arsenal international.