West Ham boss Sam Allardyce has revealed his long running feud with former Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez is finally over, reports the Liverpool Echo.
But Allardyce insists it is the Spaniard who gave him his ‘direct’ tag, whilst also hinting the Champions League winner was jealous of his team’s ability during his time in England.
“For the first time ever, when he was manager at Chelsea, Rafa Benitez invited me for a beer after the game,” Allardyce said.
“So the row which lasted nearly 10 years is now water under the bridge.”
The pair had several spats during Benitez’ spell in charge at Anfield, including a moment when the Spaniard sarcastically compared Allardyce’s Blackburn side to Barcelona in 2010.
And Allardyce believes Benitez is the man who initiated the belief his teams play a ‘direct’ style of football, something he still disputes.
“The criticism about my ‘direct’ style of play wasn’t from journalists to begin with – it was from other managers with Benitez starting it,” he added.
“But my team never played like that.
“It was their way of protecting themselves from us having beaten them rather than accepting they’d been tactically undone.”
And the 60-year-old, who faced the Reds with Bolton, Newcastle and Blackburn, has even hinted Benitez was jealous of how his side played football.
“One of my biggest regrets is not dealing with the ‘direct’ tag earlier by pointing out it was being put about by those jealous their team wasn’t as good as mine.”