Mamadou Sakho hails fitness regime after win on Crystal Palace debut

Mamadou Sakho has said his impressive Crystal Palace debut against Middlesbrough on Saturday was down to an intense fitness programme.

Sakho made his first competitive appearance since April in Palace's 1-0 win at Selhurst Park.

The Liverpool centre-half made a loan switch to Palace at the end of January after being frozen out at Liverpool under manager Jurgen Klopp.

"My last game was 10 months ago but during this time I have been working hard on my fitness and, after my performance, it has all been worthwhile," Sakho said.

"I am really proud to be involved in this victory, and from my point of view it is always about me giving my best when I am out on the pitch for the club, the team and the supporters.

"We played 12 against 11 in this game because the fans were really good for us and they gave us a lot of courage and confidence. It was nice to get the result for them.

"We played very well as a team, gave a strong performance and deserved the three points in a really difficult game."

Liverpool had been looking to offload Sakho on a permanent deal in the January window, demanding £20 million for the France international.

However, they eventually settled on a £2m loan fee with Palace, who will cover the player's full wages.

Palace boss Sam Allardyce praised Sakho and said: "It was a nice performance.

"It was his first Premier League game this season, so we spent a good bit of time on his fitness and he's accepted that he had to put that extra work in."