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Page last updated at 19:02 GMT, Thursday, 11 March 2010

Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce steps up Benitez criticism

Sam Allardyce
Allardyce says he will not resort to personal jibes

Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce is refusing to let up in his feud with Liverpool counterpart Rafael Benitez.

Benitez mocked Allardyce's behaviour as well as his team's playing style after Rovers lost 2-1 at Anfield 11 days ago.

"It was a good cover-up by Rafa because he knows how bad his side were and that was repeated against Wigan on Monday night," the Blackburn boss said.

Allardyce believes he is getting "under the skin" of the Reds manager with whom he has traded blows since April 2009.

"Personal criticism is not the road I go down," he told BBC Radio Lancashire. "This is not the first time but he clearly doesn't like me so I find that's a benefit to my side whenever we play against them."

The Blackburn boss complained the Spaniard was "disrespectful" following Rovers' 4-0 defeat at Anfield 11 months ago.

Tensions were stirred up further at the end of last month with Benitez sarcastically suggesting Barcelona were considering basing their style on Rovers.

And Allardyce has responded in the wake of the Merseysiders' shock 1-0 defeat at Wigan on Monday which has dented their hopes of earning a Champions League spot.

They're actually starting to rely on other teams slipping up now

Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce

The Reds failed to make the knockout stages of this season's elite European competition and Allardyce feels that on current form they may struggle to break back into the top four.

"The last time one of the big four didn't qualify for the Champions League it was Liverpool [in 2005] and Everton got that spot," he said.

"I think this time it looks pretty difficult. They're actually starting to rely on other teams slipping up now.

"They have got a wealth of experience in this position and it may be a telling factor later on when the nerves start jangling.

"We saw what happened to Tottenham a few years ago when they didn't have the experience to hang on to fourth place and let it slip.

"There are more teams involved this time and that's why I think it'll be more difficult for Liverpool. There's Aston Villa, Tottenham and Manchester City. But if Everton stay in the form they are it may just put them near."

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