Big Sam has today been praising the manager of Blackburn Rovers, Mark Hughes, today.
Mark of course managed Wales before replacing Graeme Souness at Blackburn, when Souness became the ill-fated manager of Newcastle United back in Septmeber, 2004, when he replaced the great Sir Bobby Robson on Tyneside. Enough said about that one.
Sam Allardyce – lots of praise for Mark Hughes today
The Lancashire club has done very well under Hughes, and he has signed some excellent players with some excellent deals. Blackburn Rovers are now one of the Premier Leagueâ€™s most consistent sides, and they let themselves down a little on Wednesday evening, in their 4-0 hammering by Aston Villa. They will certainly want to make up for that today against the Magpies.
Some teams donâ€™t like the way Blackburn play, but when you donâ€™t have the money to go out and get really top players what do the other managers expect? Just to lie down? Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho have both criticized the physical nature of Blackburnâ€™s style of play.
But Sam Allardyce was used to that at Bolton Wanderers, and truly believes that Mark has done a wonderful job at Blackburn, which he has.
Sam said today:
â€œHaving, a bit like me, got some undeserved stick, particularly from higher managers because he went about his job making sure the opposition couldnâ€™t play how they wanted to, Mark Hughes has got a good balance.â€
â€œHe got criticism from the Arsene Wengers and the Jose Mourinhoâ€™s because Blackburn Rovers upset them, they didnâ€™t think Blackburn had any right to tackle their players. Mark Hughes has now developed a nice combination of talent, flair and hard working resilience.â€
â€œItâ€™s not the most affluent of clubs, like it used to be, but heâ€™s knitted a very strong and talented side that has still not lost its nasty streak. They play some good stuff, but theyâ€™re tough when they need to be.â€
Mark Hughesâ€™ acquisition of Paraguay international Roque Santa Cruz has made Blackburn a threatening force going forward this season. Santa Cruz partners former Porto striker Benni McCarthy and they play well together. Weâ€™re not sure if Mark will find a place today for Matt Derbyshire, their young promising striker but we expect him to play some part in the game.
â€œHeâ€™s signed two very good goalscorers in Benni McCarthy and Roque Santa Cruz. A lot of us wouldnâ€™t have taken a chance on Benni McCarthy but he did and itâ€™s paid off. Jason Roberts doesnâ€™t get so many goals, but heâ€™s a real handful as well when he plays.
â€œThe service from (David) Bentley and (Morten Gamst) Pedersen is quality and in midfield theyâ€™ve got one of the few players in the Premiership who doesnâ€™t need to run too much. Tugayâ€™s so good at finding space and keeping them in possession.”
â€œMark Hughes deserves all the credit. Iâ€™m not surprised Blackburn have given him a new contract. If heâ€™s signed it, it will be the best, wisest thing theyâ€™ve done. If he hasnâ€™t signed it, I think theyâ€™re in trouble.â€
So it’s turning out to be quite a game today between two teams that desperately need the win to get back in the good books with their fans. Newcastle need the points a lot more than Blackburn, who have made an excellent start in the league and are on 23 points to Newcastle’s 18 points. The games a mere four hours away so all the talk will stop then.
We are hoping for a Newcastle win – by any score, but a clean sheet would be an added bonus.
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