Pep Guardiola has insisted that Sam Allardyce was right to declare that he was every bit as good as the Manchester City boss shortly after being unveiled by Leeds United as their new interim manager. The former England head coach has been drafted in to oversee the last four games of the Premier League season at Elland Road as Leeds aim to ensure top-flight survival between now and the end of the campaign
Allardyce, who boasts an impressive track record in keeping clubs away from the Premier League’s drop zone, raised plenty of eyebrows at his first press conference by insisting that he is up there with the world’s very best coaches in terms of football knowledge and managerial know-how.
“I may be 68 and look old but there’s nobody ahead of me in football terms,” he said. “Not Pep, not [Jurgen] Klopp, not [Mikel] Arteta. It’s all there with me. 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.”
Guardiola was quizzed on Allardyce’s bold comments after Wednesday night’s victory over West Ham United and responded by underlining the importance of old-school English managers as he prepares to go up against the new Leeds head coach at the Etihad Stadium this weekend.
“He is right,” said the Spaniard. “I want to be honest. Now look what happened with, for example, Neil Warnock in Huddersfield. It looks like now the young managers are there with the tactics or whatever, so they are really good, they help us to be what we are.
“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. He [Allardyce] 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.”