Leeds United boss Sam Allardyce makes Pep, Klopp and Arteta claim as he laments lateness of call

Sam Allardyce has been addressing the media after his Leeds United appointment was confirmed on Wednesday
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Sam Allardyce says Leeds United have appointed a manager equally as good as Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp and Mikel Arteta but he wishes the call had come sooner.

The Whites sacked Javi Gracia in the wake of a 4-1 defeat at Bournemouth, the fourth loss in five outings, and replaced him with Allardyce on a four-game deal.

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Allardyce was keen on the role when Jesse Marsch was relieved of his duties in February but Leeds instead looked at foreign-based managers, none of whom could be appointed.

Under-21s boss Michael Skubala's caretaker stint was cut short after defeat at Everton and ex-Watford manager Gracia duly arrived.

A dozen games later, with four remaining, Allardyce is now in charge and Leeds sit just above the drop zone on the merit of goal difference.

Allardyce, who has brought Karl Robinson and Robbie Keane in as staff members, would have jumped at the chance to take over mid-season.

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"Well, in the highlights of this year and they’ve had their troubles always knowing where I am, but it’s, it’s never materialised until now," he said.

"I've never moved so quick in my life for a position. Zoom call yesterday and here I am. To get the call was quite surprising. It was only a couple of minutes before I said yes. Because of the situation we rushed through the entire process so I could be here for at least a reasonable lead into Manchester City."

His first press conference since arriving at Thorp Arch was a chance to express his confidence at making an impact on the team, although he stopped short of predicting safety. Allardyce made no bones of the size of the challenge facing Leeds, given the difficulty of their four fixtures and the lack of time to turn things around.

What came across loud and clear was his self belief, undented by a two-year period spent waiting for the next challenge.

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"Far too many people think that I am old and antiquated which is far from the truth," he said.

"I might be 68 and old but there's nobody ahead of me in football terms. Not Pep, not Klopp, not Arteta. They do what they do, I do what I do. In terms of knowledge and depth of knowledge, I'm up there with them. I'm not saying I'm better than them, but certainly as good as they are."