Pep Guardiola may agree with Leeds United boss Sam Allardyce - but Gary Neville is having none of it
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Allardyce is now in charge of Leeds United for the rest of the season, returning to management after the Whites decided to part ways with Javi Gracia in a desperate move to save themselves from the drop with four games remaining. Allardyce is one of the most experienced Premier League bosses, but he isn’t known for overseeing the most attractive football.
And it’s for that reason he left many stunned when he claimed during his introductory press conference that ‘nobody is ahead’ of him, not even Guardiola or Jurgen Klopp.
Guardiola defended Allardyce when asked about the comments, saying: “He is right. I want to be honest. Look at the managers, Roy Hodgson for Crystal Palace, what they have done. They are really good, they have incredible experience, they know the game perfectly and if he feels that it is because of this. It will be tough because he has the charisma, he will put out the pressure to the players and he knows exactly what to do in this kind of situation in a relegation battle.
“It looks like this type of old managers… I’m honest, so what they have done for the club [is dismissed as] ‘they are old, whatever’.
“Now the people who are 35, 40, 45, we invent football or we create football. No, football is already created and these guys belong to that league and helped us to do it and that’s why. So, Neil Warnock, Huddersfield was in the last [spot] and now already out of the dangerous positions. I could not experience what Harry Redknapp has done in this country.
“There are many, many English managers that have done really, really well. You don’t have to be young to be a good manager. As much experience you have, you are good.”
Pundit Neville wasn’t so kind, however, declaring the comments ‘just wrong’ when asked about Allardyce’s appointment and comments on Monday night.
“I couldn’t believe it at first, to be honest with you,” he told the Gary Neville Podcast. “You talk about Leeds United, the desperation that we’re now seeing.
“Look, I’m a club owner and I’ve sacked managers. But the desperation that we’ve seen this season in the Premier League is mainly due to the fact that teams are so worried about losing that income and going down. We’re seeing some of the maddest football decisions we’ve ever seen and it’s crazy. This Leeds season has been as crazy as it gets.
“Obviously Jesse Marsch stayed for a long time, Javi Gracia comes in, doesn’t work but then gets sacked and Sam Allardyce comes in for four games. The sporting director [Victor Orta] goes for Leeds...What we’ve seen at Leeds is symptomatic of the desperation that’s existing to prevent teams from going down.
“Sam Allardyce was probably never expecting that call [for the job], or maybe he was! His interview today [Wednesday] I thought was hilarious. I actually put some laughing emojis [on Twitter] when he said ‘I’m the equal of Klopp, I’m the equal of Pep, I’m the equal of Arteta’. Ultimately that’s Big Sam, that’s his confidence, that’s his character.
“It sounds shocking when you hear that and it sounds like madness. And then I think a few of the responses that came through straight away saying that it takes the pressure off the players as the headlines are all about him and what he said, because it is an outrageous thing to say. Pep Guardiola will probably go down as one of the top managers of all time, Sam Allardyce won’t. But he said it., ‘I’m the equal with Pep’. He’s had massive experience but ultimately that’s just wrong isn’t it.”