Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce takes aim at Rafa Benitez over his success with Liverpool

Sam Allardyce Press Conference 12/02/2014

The former Bolton manager looks set to reignite a long-standing feud.

Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce has taken a swipe at Real Madrid boss Rafael Benitez over his role in Liverpool’s famous Champions League triumph in 2005, in his forthcoming autobiography ‘Big Sam’.

The Reds famously fought back to level the game - after going three goals down at half-time to AC Milan - before eventually securing their fifth European Cup on penalties.

Steven Gerrard put in one of the best individual displays ever seen in football to drag his team back from the brink and Allardyce prefers to lay the credit firmly at the Scouser’s doorstep.

“Of course he [Benitez] can say he won the Champions League with Liverpool, which is something I never did - But it was nowt to do with him,” said the Black Cats boss, in extracts from the book published by The Sun.

"Steven Gerrard took that final by the scruff of the neck and dragged Liverpool back from 3-0 down against AC Milan to eventually win on penalties.

"I don't blame Benitez for claiming credit - but as managers we know the truth. It's like when you make a substitution in desperation and it comes off. You get all the credit for your tactical brilliance when it's often just luck."

While Gerrard should rightly take the bulk of the credit for turning things around, the criticism still seems harsh, given that a Champions League victory doesn’t solely rest on the final itself.

Benitez’s role in getting Liverpool to Istanbul is undeniable and he must be recognised for his team’s performances throughout the tournament as a whole.

Allardyce and Benitez had a history of animosity during his time in England and the new Sunderland boss shared his thoughts on why that was the case.

"He didn't like me and he thought he was superior," he wrote. "Here was a trendy foreign manager with all his smart ideas getting beat by some oik from the Midlands.

"Benitez wouldn't talk to me at all and that just made it all the better when we won. I can't stand people who disrespect me the way he did."

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