Allardyce: I love winding up 'arrogant' Wenger

The Black Cats boss insists that the Frenchman is arrogant, and says that he loves defeating the Gunners, while he has also taken a swipe at Real Madrid boss Rafael Benitez


Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce has accused Arsene Wenger of arrogance and says he relishes beating Arsenal more than any other Premier League side.

Wenger’s side often struggled against the more direct approach of Bolton Wanderers during Allardyce’s time in charge of the club between 1999 and 2007.

And Allardyce has claimed victories over Arsenal were all-the-more satisfying due to Wenger’s reaction on the touchline.

Writing in his autobiography, which is being serialised in The Sun, he said:  “I enjoyed beating Arsenal more than anyone when I was in charge at Bolton. We’d really got to them and Arsene Wenger hated us.

“Of course, Arsenal beat us sometimes, but we drew with them or beat them more often than expected and Wenger couldn’t handle it.

“There was one time he wouldn’t shake hands with me at Highbury because we got a draw. I saw him ripping his tie off and throwing it on the floor in anger.

“He takes it all very personally and has an air or arrogance. He’s not one for inviting you into his office for a drink after games.

“He’s a fantastic manager, I cannot deny that. But the more I could wind him up, the more I liked it.

“He tried to influence refs through the media and create a perception that we were bullies committing all the fouls, while his team just wanted to play.

“It seemed he wanted a rule where they should be allowed to do what they wanted with the ball, without us being allowed to tackle them.”

Allardyce has also taken a swipe at current Real Madrid coach Rafael Benitez, claiming he had little to do with Liverpool’s memorable Champions League triumph in 2005, instead crediting Steven Gerrard for the remarkable comeback against Milan.

“Rafa Benitez was another one. When we beat his Liverpool team he would complain ‘They don’t play my type of football’,” he added.

“What was that, then? Winning football? He didn’t like me and he thought he was superior. Here was a trendy foreign manager with all his smart ideas getting beat by some oik from the Midlands.

“Benitez wouldn’t talk to me at all and that just made it all the better when we won.

“Of course he can say he won the Champions League with Liverpool, which is something I never did. But it was nowt to do with him. Steven Gerrard took that final by the scruff of the neck and dragged Liverpool back from 3-0 down against AC Milan to eventually win on penalties.

“I don’t blame Benitez for claiming credit — but as managers we know the truth. It’s like when you make a substitution in desperation and it comes off. You get all the credit for your tactical brilliance when it’s often just luck.”

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10 2015
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