Sam Allardyce has admitted that he drew criticism for his “mind games” with Arsene Wenger during his time as Bolton manager.
The 67-year-old got Wanderers promoted for the 2001-02 season and helped establish them as a Premier League side during his time there.
But his style – on and off the pitch – wasn’t for everyone. Speaking exclusively to Ladbrokes at the launch of its 5-A-Side bet on West Ham v Leicester, Allardyce said: “In all fairness, I always had a lot of respect for Arsene [Wenger], but trying to wind him up was a nice thing for me to be able to do.
“When you know you can, you do. If you're a top manager like Sir Alex [Ferguson], and people like that, people say it's mind games.
“When you're Sam Allardyce at Bolton Wanderers, it's disrespectful. It's not, really; it's just trying to gain an advantage. If I can see a weakness in my opposition manager, why am I not going to try and wind him up in the media? We all do it; it doesn't happen as much now as it used to, but it was a big part of my game over the years.
Meanwhile, Allardyce spoke about the recent appointment of Steve Bruce to the West Brom dugout.
Bruce left his post at Newcastle last year and it looked at one point as though he would be leaving management for good.
However, news filtered through that he would be taking up the reins at the Midlands club.
The former manager had left The Hawthorns last year after the club were relegated from the Premier League.
He told the Express and Star: ““The positives now if you’re an Albion fan come from Steve Bruce.
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“He’s been there, seen it, done it, knows what to do. And he’s done it with lesser clubs than West Brom, as well.
“He got Hull City up into the Premier League, he did it with Sunderland, Birmingham.
“He’s got the experience and the know-how to lift this team. At the very, very least, Steve will get you into the play-offs this season.
“Once he’s got his feet under the table, he will lift that team and get them into the play-offs.”
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