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West Ham v Everton: Allardyce questions Everton's style

Irony alert!

Michael Regan/Getty Images

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce has cranked up the mind games ahead of tonight's FA Cup replay against Everton by suggesting he is tactically more flexible than his opposite number Roberto Martinez.

The issue of Everton's style of play has been the subject of intense debate in recent weeks, with some suggesting the Spaniard's refusal to play a more direct game is doing the club more harm than good.

Romelu Lukaku then revealed last week that the players had asked Martinez if they could play longer passes at times in order to play to the Belgian's strengths.

There was evidence of this in the much  improved display against Manchester city last weekend, through in the build-up to the game Martinez was at pains to stress the difference between a long pass and long ball.

The long ball is something closely associated with Allardyce throughout his managerial career, with his teams traditionally packed huge huge 6ft strikers and reliant on corners, free kicks and long throws.

He surely can't miss the irony found in his latest comments. After all, the former Bolton boss only kept his job at Upton Park last summer when he pledged to adopt a more attacking brand of football and was effectively forced to appoint Teddy Sheringham as attacking coach.

Maybe this is just an attempt to get into Martinez's head ahead of what is a crucial match for both teams even at this relatively early stage of the season.

Allardyce said:

"I'm a little bit more flexible than Roberto - he is a total believer in one style. You become flexible as time goes on.

"Flexibility teaches you that you have a philosophy in the way you want to play, but if that way of playing doesn't suit the players you cannot keep that philosophy."