Leeds boss Allardyce: ‘I’m up there’ with Pep, Klopp, Arteta


New Leeds United manager Sam Allardyce is not lacking in confidence as he prepares for a four-game quest to keep the club in the Premier League, saying he ranks himself alongside the best coaches in England.

Allardyce was confirmed Wednesday as the replacement for Javi Gracia, who departed after just 12 games in charge and with Leeds only above the relegation zone on goal difference with four games remaining.

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Allardyce, 68, has been out of management since leaving West Brom following their relegation to the Championship in May 2021, but insisted at his unveiling that he still has plenty to offer.

“Far too many people think I am old and antiquated, which is so far from the truth,” Allardyce said in his opening news conference on Wednesday. “I might be 68 and look old, but there’s nobody ahead of me in football terms — not Pep [Guardiola], not [Jurgen] Klopp, not [Mikel] Arteta.

“It’s all there with me. I shared it with them, they did what they do, I do what I do.

“In terms of knowledge, and depth of knowledge, I’m up there. I’m not saying I’m better, but I’m certainly as good as they are.”

Allardyce, who took charge of England for one match in 2016, has managed in over 500 Premier League games and developed a reputation for leading troubled clubs to safety — as he did with Sunderland, Crystal Palace and Everton.

He has also previously insisted he would flourish as manager of European giants like Real Madrid, Inter Milan or Manchester United.

But he said it “took me about two seconds to say yes” to the Leeds job, despite acknowledging the difficult task ahead of him.

It starts with the ultimate test in an away match at champions Manchester City on Saturday, before a home game against third-place Newcastle.

Then there’s a trip to West Ham, which is also fighting to avoid relegation, and a season-ending home match against Europe-chasing Tottenham. West Ham and Newcastle are two of Allardyce’s many former clubs.

“The first thing I did when I looked at the fixtures was I thought they could’ve been a bit kinder,” Allardyce said.

“We have to create a shock … I hope we can find six points from four [games].”

He isn’t ruling out staying on at Elland Road beyond this season if things go according to plan.

“Never say never,” Allardyce said. “Depends what happens at the end of the four matches and what the conversation is all about. How I feel and more importantly how the wife feels.”

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.


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