Allardyce admits respect for Wenger
lackburn boss Sam Allardyce insists Arsene Wenger is no more 'advanced' than him as a coach but is a "very clever guy" he has respect for. Allardyce refuses to back down in his spat with Wenger, has been a big critic of Blackburn's style of play, among others. "There is a problem with perception. Arsene is seen as a sophisticated Frenchman while I'm just a rugged English centre-half from the Midlands with an accent to match, but is Arsene more advanced than me in terms of coaching? Not a chance," said Allardyce. "Does he use live fitness data on his players during games? Does he study sports psychology every day? Does he use sports science to the extent that I do? I doubt it. "None of all this affects my view of Wenger. I have total respect for the way he changed his philosophy in recent years when the £400million move to the Emirates Stadium reduced his spending power in the transfer market. "He hasn't won trophies yet with his current crop but he has stuck to his guns by insisting that nothing will prevent the development of his young players. Arsenal play some wonderful football but what makes the Premier League interesting is the difference in styles between teams." Allarydce admits that Wenger is a private figure who will never be truly understood. "The truth is that nobody really knows Arsene Wenger. There certainly aren't too many people who actually get close to him," he continued in his News of the World column. "If that's Arsene's way, though, then I respect that. Maybe he doesn't like me. Maybe he is keen to get on the coach or the plane after fulfilling 45 minutes of post-match media duties. "He loves the psychological warfare of the Premier League, the world's most watched and talked about sporting competition. It goes with the theatre of the game and without it football would be less interesting. "Arsene is a very clever guy. He uses his profile in London to get messages out which are aimed at putting pressure on referees. "Look at the criticism he made of Stoke's so-called "rugby tactics" when they played Spurs earlier in the season. "He accused Robert Huth of pushing Heurelho Gomes into the goal. The referee that day was Chris Foy. And who took charge of Arsenal's game at Blackburn the following week? That's right, Chris Foy. "Arsene put pressure on the officials and I don't have a major problem with that. "We can get fined by the FA for directing remarks at referees before games - but he did it in a very clever and subtle way. "However, if Arsene is allowed his opinion, then I am entitled to mine. I speak to about six press people on a Friday afternoon and he probably speaks to about 60. "What goes on between managers doesn't bother me, in fact, I find it very entertaining. "But if I have an opinion nobody will stop me expressing it. "How we go about our business as bosses is different from each other." Allardyce also admitted that he would miss former Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez following his summer departure from Anfield. "I am gutted that Rafa Benitez has gone. He hated me and I used to love winding him up," he said. "For years he came to Bolton and never got a result and used to accuse us of cheating."
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