Belfast Telegraph

Flexibility is Sam Allardyce's ingredient for West Ham success

By Staff Reporter

Sam Allardyce believes he is more tactically flexible than Everton manager Roberto Martinez as the West Ham manager watches his counterpart struggle in his second season at Goodison Park.

Having replaced David Moyes before the last campaign, Martinez was praised with the attractive football he encouraged and which led to a fifth-placed finish in the Premier League and Europa League qualification.

But good results have been harder to come by this season and, despite a 1-1 draw with champions Manchester City at the weekend, Everton are just three points clear of the relegation zone.

Allardyce, who welcomes Martinez and his team to Upton Park tonight for their FA Cup third-round replay, believes injuries and the extra burden of European competition are possible explanations for Everton's struggles, but was certain that his own flexibility had helped West Ham climb the table to seventh this season.

"For me it has always been about adapting and suiting the players the best way possible to win," Allardyce said. "While Everton are having a sticky patch, I'm not sure that is down to Roberto's philosophy.

"Because they have had the extra games with the Europa League, it has told. They have found it difficult to cope with more injuries and more games."

While he is in support of Martinez's philosophy, Allardyce believes his own progression as a manager has given him an added understanding of the need to be flexible. "I think Roberto, like every other manager, has his own style," he said. "I'm a little bit more flexible than Roberto - he is a total believer in one style.

"Flexibility teaches you that you have a philosophy in the way you want to play but if that way doesn't suit the players you have, you cannot keep going with that philosophy."

FA Cup: Everton v West Ham, Goodison Park, 7.45pm (BT Sport)

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