'He’s not right in what he said' - Sam Allardyce snaps back at Gary Neville after his verdict on Unai Emery
Former England manager Sam Allardyce has hit back at Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville after the duo offered alternative views on Unai Emery's opening few weeks as Arsenal boss.
Allardyce was outspoken in his criticism of Emery's eagerness to take on Premier League champions Manchester City in an open attacking game on the opening weekend of the new Premier League season, as he suggested the Spanish tactician should be blamed for his side's 2-0 defeat.
Those comments drew a strong response from Manchester United legend Neville, as he suggested Allardyce was hasty in passing judgement on Emery.
"I saw Sam Allardyce’s comments last week on the radio after the first game, saying he should be blamed for the defeat against City," stated Neville.
"He’s only five to six weeks in. He talked about 'you can’t do this, you can’t do that'. Unai Emery's not trying to get eight points from five games to avoid relegation. He's trying to build a team to win a title. He’s trying to build a team in the style to win a title. Not lump it long and get in behind them."
Speaking to talkSPORT, Allardyce didn't hold back as he suggested he was better qualified to discuss managers than Neville, whose only managerial posting was a brief and unsuccessful spell as Valencia manager.
"Gary thinks he’s an expert in the field, as you well know," said the former Bolton, Newcastle, Crystal Palace and Everton boss. "Why he quite had a dig, I’m not that sure, but of course Gary is very open in his own opinion.
"Let me say this: I’ve managed seven Premier League clubs and over 1000 games – do you think I’m entitled to my opinion? I think so.
"Gary is Gary, and in the end he thinks he’s always right, that’s probably the reason why he said it, but at the end of the day, people ask me for my opinion and I say what I see, I always give my honest opinion.
"He talks about me having to win five games to save a club from relegation, I never got five or six weeks (to settle into a club). If I don’t get a result in five weeks, the club I take over is relegated – so I have to do it in days.
"I have to work out the players immediately and convince all of them we have to turn results around immediately. So he’s not right in what he said, but Gary is Gary – he’s got his opinion and I’ve got mine."