Everton host Newcastle United on the Monday night football feature, with Sam Allardyce seeing his current team take on one of his half-dozen former teams. Speaking in his pre-match press conference, he was asked what it was like coming up against a former side.
”It’s been so long now there’s nothing but respect for the football club. While I always considered it was unjust I lost my job, it happened and I moved on.
”After a difficult time from that period onwards they’ve managed to recover and get back in the Premier League and what looked like going to be a difficult season has been turned around starting in January.
”They’ve put together a run of games by how they’ve organised the team and what they’ve delivered. We’ll see a different Newcastle team to when we beat them up there.”
What were his thoughts on how the Magpies have done this season with Rafa Benitez in charge?
”I think he’s progressed very very well. He’s always expressed his disappointment at not having enough funds, but we can all say we don’t have enough funds.
”What he has managed with the funds he has, particularly in the January months, has been excellent.”
Allardyce has some history with Benitez, having previously called him a “whinger and moaner” in one of their previous thirteen meetings.
”Oh that was about 15 years ago. He’d just got here and I was winding anybody up I possible could. And it worked very well, by the way, at times.
”That doesn’t happen anymore.
”I’m too long in the tooth for that now. Too mature.”
Wayne Rooney quite enjoys playing against Newcastle, having scored 15 goals ove rthe years.
”Thank god for that!
”Listen our problem, apart from still not keeping enough clean sheets for me, but we’ve become quite tight defensively it was only Arsenal and Spurs away that we fell to pieces.
”Other than that, the games have been tight. But our goal ratio has been a problem, and of course it doesn’t take an experienced manager like myself to see that if we’re going to get better next season we need to score more.
”That comes from better approach play and better final third quality, both in terms of providing assists and scoring goals.
”When you’re looking at how many goals we’ve scored, it just isn’t enough. And we have to deal with that until the end of the season and try and make it better next season.”
(All quotes courtesy of Liverpool Echo)