Sam Allardyce claims he purely made the comparisons to Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp to “divert attention” away from Leeds United players.

The former England manager made headlines last weekend before his debut match in charge of Leeds against Manchester City, declaring that “there is nobody ahead of me in football terms. Not Pep, Klopp, or Arteta.”

Allardyce was chastised from all sides for his ridiculous remark, but according to him, that’s precisely what he wanted.

“You had a big enough headline off me last week, you’re not going to get anymore,” Allardyce said in his press conference ahead of Leeds’ clash with Newcastle.

“By the way, all those who criticised me about that sounded a bit thick didn’t they? When all I was doing was diverting off the players onto myself, which was a great tactic I picked up off [Sir] Alex Ferguson.

“There was no pressure on the players because I took it all, I took all the stick – ‘oh look at him, listen to him’ – but there’s none of that this week, it’s all focusing on Newcastle and trying to get the three points that we need.”

Although fans bought into his idea, it wasn’t enough to stop Leeds from leaving the Etihad Stadium without a point. Ilkay Gundogan’s two first-half goals were decisive, with Leeds attacker Rodrigo snatching a consolation with five minutes remaining.

Leeds are now in 19th place, two points from safety, with three games remaining. Following their match against Newcastle on Saturday, Allardyce’s side will travel to London Stadium to face West Ham before welcoming Tottenham to Elland Road on the final day.

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