Saturday, February 27, 2010

Big Sam takes a dig at Rafa

Sam Allardyce haas reopened his war of words with Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez ahead of Blackburn's visit to Anfield.

Speaking before tomorrow's Barclays Premier League clash, the Rovers boss has accused his opposite number of attempting to influence referees, dating back to Allardyce's time as Bolton manager.

Former Newcastle United chief Allardyce alleges that the Spaniard sent video evidence to Keith Hackett during his time as general manager of the Professional Game Match Officials Board in 2004.

He said: "I have no worries about what he thinks of me or my team. The most important thing to me is we can beat them on any given date and we know we can beat them because I did it at the Reebok.

"Because he didn't like it he found an excuse about how we played. [Arséne] Wenger did it, [José] Mourinho did it; they all do it when they get their backside smacked.

"That will get him moaning about me again but I am not bothered. He even went as far as putting a DVD together and sending it to Keith Hackett. He doesn't know I know that, but I do.

"I got on to Keith Hackett and told him I didn't want it to influence what refs do because it is all a load of rubbish. He had a bee in his bonnet for a while."

Allardyce, whose Rovers side have not won at Anfield since 1993, claimed Benitez made a disrespectful gesture towards his team following the Reds' 4-0 win over Rovers last term and has admitted his surprise at the club's failure to build on last season's second-place finish.

He added: "I won't get an explanation for that. He is his own man and he does things his own way. I didn't particularly like it. We were finished then because they got the second goal.

"They were terrific that day [last season]. Based on how well they finished last year I am very surprised they have gone through the turmoil they have in the past few months."

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