Sunderland are on the brink of another fantastic escape and Sam Allardyce’s work on the training ground must take the credit.
The manager took over at the Stadium of Light back in October and has not only got them winning points but has a near-full squad to choose from as the season draws to a close.
North-east rivals Newcastle United have badly struggled with injuries this season but Allardyce’s squad has remained stronger than most since he arrived at the club.
“You get the foreign coaches coming in, ‘Woah, I’m a foreign coach, I’ll do two sessions a day,’” the experience manager has said.
“And then three or four months later, he’s got 14 injuries, and I go ‘Wow, carry on!’
“Man United, Louis van Gaal – ‘Woah, two sessions a day, we’ll get them fit.’ Ha ha, 14 injuries, ha ha ha.”
Not forcing the players to train too often has worked wonders for Claudio Ranieri and Allardyce is wrong to call out foreign coaches: Steve McClaren was Newcastle United boss for the majority of the campaign and they have had far more injuries than other sides.
Their record has improved with the arrival of Rafa Benitez but Allardyce doesn’t expect that to last.
“He will probably get more injuries later on,
“And that’s what happens with them. You do two sessions a day here, for 10 months, and they will all get injured.
“It is proven. It has happened time and time and time again.”
Calling out Louis van Gaal doesn’t seem too unfair but time will tell as far as Benitez is concerned. For now we just have to wonder why more managers, especially when they don’t have to compete in Europe, don’t follow the leads of the likes of Allardyce and Ranieri and give their players less strenuous schedules.