Palace look more like a Big Sam team
Patrick van Aanholt believes Crystal Palace's improved performance in the defeat of Middlesbrough was down to manager Sam Allardyce's influence on the training ground.
Two months after Allardyce's appointment Palace finally showed some of the organisation and resilience which his teams usually demonstrate and has been absent all season.
Middlesbrough again had few goalscoring chances, and Van Aanholt - whose first-half goal secured a 1-0 victory - insists that was largely because of the effects of the hosts' recent work.
"We trained very hard because we didn't have a game last week and after that we got a couple of days off, because rest is also important," the full-back, whose goal was his first for the club, said.
"We came back together, worked hard in the week and that's paid off. We showed everyone we were up for winning the game and we did.
"We were very good (defensively). In the first half we came out and were dominant, like, 'We're here to win this game'.
"(And) it was an unbelievable moment for me (to score)."
Sixteenth-placed Middlesbrough were unambitious throughout Saturday's fixture at Selhurst Park, allowing Palace to climb out of the Premier League's bottom three and go level with them on 22 points from 26 games.
Their head coach Aitor Karanka felt his team underestimated the importance of a match against a direct rival.
"We can't make these mistakes, and we have to realise that every single week the games become more important," said Karanka.