Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson and Blackburn’s Sam Allardyce launched attacks on Liverpool counterpart Rafa Benitez on Friday, accusing the Spaniard of showing contempt toward other clubs and arrogance.
Ferguson, whose team is one point ahead of Liverpool in the Premier League title race, said Benitez was arrogant in describing Liverpool’s neighbors Everton as a small club.
“Everton are a big club, not a small one, which Benitez arrogantly said,” Ferguson said. “But arrogance is one thing. You cannot forgive contempt, which is what he showed [Blackburn Rovers manager] Sam Allardyce last weekend. When Liverpool scored their second goal [in a 4-0 victory], he signaled as if the game was finished. I do not think Sam deserved that. In my experience, no Liverpool manager has ever done that. It was beyond the pale.”
Allardyce joined in the attack on Benitez, saying he was humiliated by the Liverpool manager’s gesture of crossing his arms in front of him as if to suggest that the game was over.
“I think if everybody has a look back at his gestures you will see them as pretty dismissive to me and the Blackburn Rovers team as a whole,” Allardyce said. “I was hugely disappointed by those gestures. I think they were disrespectful and quite humiliating. Having looked at them again this week, I think I’m right and everybody will see why I’m complaining. The feeling was that he had written us off. It was open arms and then a crossover of the arms as if to suggest that was it.”
Allardyce admitted Rovers, who are struggling to avoid a drop into the relegation zone, were well beaten by Liverpool.
“But in terms of respect, you don’t expect those sort of things to happen in a game of football. I was very, very upset by it. The game is hard enough as it is without a fellow manager doing what seemed to be an undermining gesture,” the Blackburn manager said. “I then waited to have a word with him after the game in his room, but as usual and unfortunately, he didn’t turn up. Not explaining himself by not turning up in his office really shows what he is like. He never showed his face. That was just as disappointing as the gesture and it typifies the man.”
Ferguson’s comments at his weekly news conference are the continuation of a verbal conflict between the two managers.
In January, Benitez accused Ferguson of frequently intimidating referees and claimed the Scot was dealt with too leniently by the FA.