Everton manager Sam Allardyce has defended his tactics from Sunday’s Merseyside derby against Liverpool – insisting Jose Mourinho used similar methods with Manchester United at Anfield.
A Wayne Rooney penalty 13 minutes from time secured a 1-1 draw for Everton, who spent long periods on the backfoot either side of Mohamed Salah’s 42nd-minute opener.
Speaking ahead of Wednesday’s trip to Newcastle United, Allardyce stood by Everton’s approach, which he likened to United’s in a dour 0-0 stalemate in October.
“Liverpool had scored 12 goals in two games, my position was to frustrate their quality,” the former England boss told a news conference.
“That’s exactly what they did. I make no apologies for that. We had to go with the best way to get something out of it and that was to stop Liverpool scoring.
“Against other teams they’ve scored five or seven. Our determination was outstanding.
“We would have liked to do better on the ball but Liverpool do a high press which is difficult to play out from, we didn’t cope with that as much as I liked.
“Tactically we were sound defensively. We did create as much as I would have liked but Anfield is a difficult place to play. Man United had a similar tactic. A team that opens up rarely wins.”
The comparison comes at an uncomfortable time for Mourinho, who has seen a gameplan that showed limited attacking ambition widely criticised in the aftermath of Sunday’s 2-1 derby defeat to Manchester City.
The Football Association (FA) has asked City and United for their observations following an alleged altercation featuring players from both sides outside the away dressing room after the match.
Mourinho reportedly sparked the incident by objecting to City celebrations that he perceived to be over the top – an argument Allardyce feels has little in its favour.
“It’s whatever they [the opposition] fancy doing,” he said. “If they want to music, to sing and shout, that’s up to them.
“It’s not your decision to do anything about it as an opposition manager.
“If you’ve lost, you say to your players, ‘listen to that, that’s what you should be doing’.”
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp was another manager whose temper ran short after full-time at the weekend and was involved in a sharp exchange with a television reporter after a question about Dejan Lovren’s foul on Dominic Calvert-Lewin for Rooney’s penalty.
“We come off one of the biggest games of the season for the fans, he is extremely disappointed about the penalty and that they’ve drawn the game. We sometimes can’t control our emotions with such pressure we’re under,” Allardyce added, offering sympathy for his counterpart from across the city.
“I have every respect for Jurgen, we can all be on the edge sometimes. For all concerned when you see it, it was the right decision the penalty.”
Phil Jagielka and Michael Keane are back to full fitness after the centre-backs were restricted to places on the bench at Anfield but Everton remain without full-back Leighton Baines (calf) at Newcastle.