West Brom boss Sam Allardyce says he will not be looking to “wind up” fellow managers while he is still getting to know what he is dealing with at his new club.
Allardyce, who last week took charge of an Albion outfit who sit 19th in the Premier League, insists now is not the time to get into the kind of “tittle-tattle” he has employed in the past.
The Baggies’ second match under the 66-year-old, following the 3-0 home loss to Aston Villa last weekend, sees them face Jurgen Klopp’s champions and league leaders Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday.
In an interview with talkSPORT last week, Allardyce had said when asked if he was looking forward to facing the likes of Klopp, Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola and Carlo Ancelotti: “I just hope I can wind them up again, that is all!”
But when reminded about that comment ahead of Sunday’s game, Allardyce said: “Certainly not at the moment, because I’m not in a position to wind anybody up until I know and I’m fully aware of what my squad and my capabilities are to help that team play better.
“At the moment it is a focus purely and simply on me trying to get the team as prepared as possible, to face one of the toughest challenges, if not the toughest challenge, of a Premier League game this season – and that’s the Anfield home record, and us trying to go there and get a result.
“For them not to have lost at home for so long is just unthinkable in terms of its achievement (Liverpool’s last home Premier League defeat was in April 2017, 2-1 to a Crystal Palace side managed by Allardyce).
“Obviously we want to try to get anything we can as a positive out of that game, and when I say a positive, not just a good performance. A point would be like a win for us. Any more than that, we can give it a try, but it will be our most difficult game of the season I think.”
Allardyce – who has managed seven other clubs in the top flight – added: “What the other teams are doing, and what the other managers are doing, is purely focused on us looking at their team selection, what their shape of the team is, who are their most dangerous players, what are their weaknesses, and also just to focus on that, not for me to get into any tittle-tattle that I used to love doing before.
“Everybody used to think that tittle-tattle was only what top managers at the top of the league did, which was an absolute nonsense.
“We could all do it, and we can all wind each other up – you’ve just got to find the right thing to wind them up about.”
When it was then put to him that he needed some wins first, he said: “Absolutely, 100 per cent.”
Albion have secured just one victory, against rock-bottom Sheffield United last month, and seven points from 14 league matches this season, and headed into Christmas five points adrift of safety.