Carragher slams ‘deluded’ Allardyce for potentially ‘tongue in cheek’ Pep, Klopp, Arteta claim

Jason Soutar
Jamie Carragher talks about Arsenal

Jamie Carragher has laughed off claims from Leeds boss Sam Allardyce that he is on the same level as Pep Guardiola, Mikel Arteta and Jurgen Klopp.

The Whites dismissed Javi Gracia earlier this week and replaced him with experienced Premier League manager Allardyce.

This is Big Sam’s first managerial job since he led West Brom to relegation in 2020-21.

He has inherited a woefully out-of-form Leeds side, who sit 17th in the Premier League table, only out of the relegation zone on goal difference; which is baffling considering they lost games 6-1, 5-1 and 4-1 (twice) last month.

Allardyce has come in to hopefully improve the Whites’ defence and has four games to ensure they avoid relegation to the Championship.

Ahead of the testing trip to Man City this weekend, the 68-year-old took all the focus away from his players by waxing lyrical about himself as a manager.

READ MORE: Welcome back, Big Sam: a psychotherapist’s dream and Proper Football Man’s fantasy

Allardyce told reporters on Wednesday: “Far too many people think that I am old and antiquated, which is far from the truth.

“I might be 68 and old, but there’s nobody ahead of me in football terms. Not Pep, not Klopp, not Arteta.

“It’s all there with me. They do what they do, I do what I do. In terms of knowledge and depth of knowledge, I’m up there with them. I’m not saying I’m better than them, but certainly as good as they are.”

And Liverpool legend Carragher certainly found Allardyce’s quotes amusing, but insisted “comparing himself to Guardiola and Klopp is just delusional”.

Writing in his Telegraph Sport column, Carragher said: “Love him or loathe him, you cannot help but laugh when you see Allardyce holding court as the chairman and chief spokesman of his own fan club.

“Was Allardyce’s tongue in his cheek when he said he considered himself the equal of Pep Guardiola, Klopp and Mikel Arteta? I would like to think so.

“Otherwise, it’s a toss-up as to whether it is brave or crazy to make such a statement when facing Guardiola and one of the best teams to ever grace the Premier League in his first game.

“You have to admire the bravado. Not many others would get away with it.

“Can you imagine the reaction if an overseas coach with no major honours to his name introduced himself to a Premier League club in such a way?

“How would Brighton’s manager, Roberto de Zerbi, have been received had he declared himself on the same level of two of the most successful managers of the modern era? At best ill-advised, and at worst deluded.

“Allardyce has form for this, of course, often sounding like he deserves greater respect for his coaching achievements.”

Carragher jokingly noted at the end of his column: “If Leeds stay up, there will be a massive anti-climax if Big Sam does not declare himself the manager of the season.”

Leeds’ final four fixtures are all pretty difficult. Half of them actually come against former employers of Allardyce.

The Yorkshire side’s previous two matches against Leicester and Bournemouth were both great opportunities to win and secure their survival, but it was not to be.

After Saturday’s trip to the Etihad, Leeds host Champions League-bound Newcastle, travel to West Ham and host Tottenham on the final day of the campaign.

READ MORE: Big Weekend: Newcastle v Arsenal, Forest, Big Sam’s Leeds bow, Mudryk, EFL final day