Sam Allardyce claims he is just as good a manager as Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp and Mikel Arteta after being unveiled as the new Leeds United boss on Wednesday.
The struggling Elland Road club have turned to the former England manager with just four games to go as they look to preserve their Premier League status after sacking Javi Gracia earlier in the day.
And while he admits the appointment has come as a shock to him, Allardyce claims his managerial abilities are at the very least equal to his rivals at Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal.
Allardyce, who was relegated from the top flight for the first time in his 30-year managerial career in his last job at West Brom two years ago, said: “Far too many people think that I am old and antiquated, which is far from the truth.
“I might be 68 and old, but there’s nobody ahead of me in football terms. Not Pep, not Klopp, not 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.”
Former Bolton, Newcastle, West Ham and Everton boss Allardyce takes charge of his first game for Leeds at Guardiola’s title-chasing City on Saturday after what has been a chaotic last 24 hours for the club after they also decided to part company with director of football Victor Orta.
‘Never say never’ on extended Leeds stay
And the veteran chief has also been talking about his chances of remaining at the club beyond the end of this season.
Allardyce added: “Never say never, it depends what happens after the four matches and what the conversations are about.
“It depends how I feel, and more importantly, how the wife feels, because I can’t keep making her feel so nervous!”
Allardyce also knows exactly what he needs to do to change the club’s fortunes in those remaining games, admitting that it’s out of possession where the biggest issues lie.
He added: “I don’t think there’s too much of a problem with Leeds in possession but it is a massive problem when they haven’t got it, because of the amount of goals they’ve conceded.
“If we are to stay in the Premier League, we need to stop conceding goals so easily. That’s part of the big job in the next four games.”
Organisation key as Leeds players get ‘desperate’
“Not Pep, not Klopp, not Arteta…” ❌
Sam Allardyce says there is no manager ahead of him in terms of football knowledge and experience.pic.twitter.com/hQoGJ4u20H
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) May 3, 2023
On how he changes that so soon, Allardyce said: “By breeding a bit more confidence and setting a pattern of play, a system of play, to say ‘this is the way we stop the opposition’. By doing that it gives us more possession and more opportunities to attack.”
The players at least seem to be on board, according to Allardyce, who has been impressed with their desperation to keep the club up.
He said: “I’ve seen a positive attitude. I’d have expected them to be more miserable than what they seem. Collectively, they seem quite good together.
“My first impression is that they’re desperate to do better. With a bit of support and guidance, and breeding a bit of confidence into them, hopefully they can build themselves up and give a bit more.”