Sunderland manager Martin O’Neill believes that people should not criticise West Ham’s style of play under Sam Allardyce, according to The Chronicle.
The Hammers boss has come under some criticism of late due to the supposed direct, brutish style of football he likes to adopt, and which saw him use to great success whilst at Bolton Wanderers. This criticism has arisen despite an impressive start for the Premier League newcomers who currently lie in eight position.
In his eight years at the Reebok Stadium, Allardyce’s ‘long-ball’ tactics helped the Trotters attain two top eight Premier League finishes as well as two UEFA Cup qualifications and a League Cup final.
Allardyce, who also had a brief spell in charge of Blackburn after Bolton and Newcastle, often enticed words of derision from former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez who once sarcastically remarked that Barcelona would want to emulate Rovers’ style of play.
Now the West Ham boss, who was at one time a genuine candidate to take over Sven Goran Eriksson at the England helm, has come in for criticism following West Ham’s recent 3-0 victory over Fulham where it was argued by critics that the Hammers were simply looping the ball up for debutant Andy Carroll to flick on.
Following the Fulham victory, Allardyce came out in defence out of his tactics and argued that the key to his success at West Ham both last season and this season was his side’s ability to vary their stlye of play.
Martin O’Neill comes up against Allardyce this weekend as Sunderland travel to the Boleyn Ground, and the Northern Irishmen was full of praise for his counterpart, “The Championship is a difficult league to get out of – as we all know from experience – but you would have backed West Ham to make it because Sam was in charge.”
The Black Cats boss also has no concerns about West Ham’s chances of survival this campaign under the leadership of ‘Big Sam’, “Similarly, you would back West Ham to stay up this season for the same reason.”
Whilst in charge at West Ham, Allardyce has signed a number of tried and tested players who have played for him at his previous clubs. For example, captain Kevin Nolan, Jussi Jaaskelainen, Ricardo Vaz Te and Matt Taylor all played under the 57-year-old at Bolton whilst new loan signing Andy Carroll enjoyed his best spell as a player under the guidance of Allardyce at Newcastle.
O’Neill believes it is this formula of knowing which players work for him that makes Allardyce such an effective manager, “He gets the best out of the players he has.”
The Hammers boss has been boosted by the news that his £35 million man Andy Carroll is expected to return from his hamstring injury earlier than expected. The striker was expected to return after the international break but Allardyce has hinted that his attacking ace may be available for England’s forthcoming World Cup qualifiers in October.