Sam talked today before his biggest game yet as Newcastle United manager and he admits he’s had a few sleepless nights this week, thinking about the game.
He denies his lack of sleep this week has anything to do with last week’s debacle against Pompey, but it cannot have helped too much either.
Let’s take a look at what Big Sam has been saying before his first Tyne-Wear derby game.
Sam Allardyce – sleepless nights this week
But since he has never previously been involved in the battle that is Newcastle vs Sunderland, today is going to be that extra bit special for him – provided the result goes Newcastle’s way, which it just has to. Sam said today:
“I’ve got no experience of it or any other great derby for that matter,” “Of course both clubs have suffered their ups and downs and haven’t been together as much in the top division.â€
“But we are in the top-flight now and we’ve got to go out and make sure we don’t disappoint our fans.â€
“I’ve never been at a club as big as Newcastle and when you are at a big club like this the responsibilities get bigger when a derby comes around.â€
“When a derby came around at Bolton , Blackburn was the most ferocious from a fans’ point of view.â€ B u t then with Man United there was an element of our fans thinking if we do all right then that’s enough.â€
“Whereas now we’ve got to go to try to win.â€ â€œNothing else will satisfy the fans so that is the difference from the Bolton derbies and the ones I played at Coventry. They weren’t as big as this.”
Sam Allardyce, of course, was initially targeted, along with Martin O’Neill, by Sunderland chairman Niall Quinn, but eventually a deal could not be struck and Roy Keane finally accepted the Sunderland job.
Defeat to Portsmouth last week was a bad result for the Newcastle boss, whose position at the club was immediately questioned by the gossip papers, and Newcastle were even linked with Blackburn’s Mark Hughes. Of course there was not truth whatsoever in these reports, but they were still published, as usual.
While Big Sam was justifiably not pleased with all the stupid speculation, he hasnâ€™t dwelt on it, and has been concentrating on the next game and trying preserve Newcastle’s 27-year unbeaten run on Wearside.
“It has not been good, it has not been clever this week,” â€œAs the week has gone by we have put behind us what happened last weekend as quickly as we could and got it done and dusted on Sunday and Monday regarding Portsmouth.â€
“We have learned all the lessons to learn out of that and put it behind us and the training has picked up.”
However, Sam has apparently not slept well this week he thinks is more down to the big Sunderland derby than the calamities suffered against Portsmouth. Sam continued:
“I suffer from sleepless nights all the time because of the job,” “It’s just me. As a player I never slept two days before a game.â€
“I could still be awake at 3 o’clock in the morning on a Saturday but still go out and run and run the day after. That was just me.â€ “This is the biggest game yet for me as manager of Newcastle but not in my career.â€
“It is the biggest so far for the players.â€ “They understand what is at stake.â€ “Everyone around the place who works here and is a fan knows how big it is.â€
â€œWe are aware of how big it is and even bigger on the back of two defeats.”
There’s one very quick way to fix Sam’s insomnia and that’s by getting back on the winning track today. After all we’re due a win, and an away win at that. We certainly need the 3 points to keep us up there in the league, before the January transfer window opens. Early next year we can further strengthen the side for the run-in to the league next year.
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