Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Rafa Has Made Life Harder for Allardyce 'Down to Players to Carry out Orders'

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Rafa Has Made Life Harder for Allardyce 'Down to Players to Carry out Orders'

Article excerpt

Byline: Stuart Rayner @StuRayner

SAM Allardyce and Rafa Benitez have had their run-ins, but Sunderland's manager admits the Spaniard's arrival has made his job of winning the Tyne-Wear derby harder.

Despite, or perhaps because of their similarities, Allardyce and Benitez have had a long-running feud. Despite having exacerbated it with comments in last autumn's autobiography, Allardyce (pictured below) insists the matter is over.

Indeed, he says he was surprised Newcastle United were able to attract one of the best coaches in the world to St James' Park, and argued the former European Cup winner's lack of relegation experience will not count against him.

"I have to say I was surprised on the basis of the clubs he has managed, in Italy, in Spain and obviously over here with two of the biggest clubs, Chelsea and Liverpool," Allardyce said. "But he is obviously addicted (to management) like I am.

"He felt it was a good opportunity to get in and we just have to make sure it is not one of those reactions clubs can get when they bring in a new manager.

"You could not get anyone better, could you in the market now. "What he has done and the clubs he has managed, the success he has gained wherever he has been, it is a big, big capture for Newcastle.

"I would expect it is going to be more difficult. Rafa is going to go Turn to Page 89 FROM BACK PAGE in and demand the players need to do this, this and this. He is now the manager - not the head coach!" As well as Chelsea and Liverpool, Benitez has also taken charge of Inter, Napoli, Uefa Cup winners Valencia and Real Madrid among others.

He has not fought relegation since taking La Liga side Extremadura down in 1999. There has been much debate since his appointment about its significance, but Allardyce played it down. …

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