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Pep Guardiola believes Sam Allardyce is a genius

The West Brom boss will be out to spring another surprise when his side face Manchester City on Tuesday.

West Bromwich Albion manager Sam Allardyce (file pic).
West Bromwich Albion manager Sam Allardyce (file pic).
Image: PA

PEP GUARDIOLA has hailed Sam Allardyce as a genius as he prepares for Manchester City’s trip to West Brom on Tuesday.

Veteran manager Allardyce is hoping to steer the Baggies away from relegation after being brought in at The Hawthorns following the sacking of Slaven Bilic last month.

City boss Guardiola recognises Allardyce has a fine track record when it comes to such rescue acts.

Guardiola said: “He’s had good and bad results, like everyone. It’s not easy to take over a team during the season, but against Wolves, Liverpool and some other clubs he’s got good results.

“Sam Allardyce is a genius to take these teams when everyone believes it’s over and get results. If it happens once, twice or three times, OK you can say it’s lucky, but that is not the case because he’s done it I don’t know how many times.”

City drew 1-1 with West Brom at home last month in what proved Bilic’s final match in charge.

That was also the last time City dropped points in a Premier League game. Since then they have won six in succession to establish themselves as strong title contenders.

Guardiola said: “The results give you an incredible boost, an incredible confidence. Sometimes you wonder what is first – do the results make you play good or do you play good if you get results?

“I think both are connected, but we are (just) in the end of January. It’s just (thinking about) West Bromwich, seeing what they have done since Sam Allardyce took over the team, trying to analyse the individual qualities – especially up front with the quality of (Matheus) Pereira – trying to make a good game and to get another victory.”

Victory for City at The Hawthorns would take them above rivals Manchester United to the top of the table.

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Guardiola said at his pre-match press conference: “The leader is United. They are top of the league.

“The moment we all have the same games together we’ll see, but now we are not top and the distance to third, fourth, fifth and sixth is so close.

“You win one or two games you are up, you lose you are down. I don’t see much of the table. I didn’t look much when we were 12th and eight or nine points behind the leaders and now it’s the same.”

Allardyce has had mixed fortunes so far with West Brom, with a draw against Liverpool and victory over Wolves as well as losses to Aston Villa, Leeds, Arsenal and West Ham.

They remain in the relegation zone, six points behind 17th-placed Brighton, but Guardiola recognises his team will have to perform better than last time they faced them.

He said: “We had chances at the end to win the game, but the way we played was not good at that time. We have to play better than we did at home to win the game.

“The quality of their players is the same but any manager will put something on the team different from the other one.”

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