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 By PA Sport

Sam Allardyce: I have no grudge against Mike Ashley, Rafa Benitez

Everton manager Sam Allardyce has said he bears no grudge against Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley for the way he was treated during his brief spell in charge at St James' Park.

Allardyce spent eight months at Newcastle before being sacked by Ashley nearly 10 years ago, a decision the billionaire retail entrepreneur has recently said was hasty.

But the Everton manager said that was all water under the bridge and added that he had nothing but respect for Rafael Benitez after a previously difficult relationship with the now-Newcastle boss when the two were at Bolton and Liverpool.

"It was difficult circumstances for me with the change of ownership. In the end it was chosen that I wasn't to be and moved on," Allardyce told a news conference ahead of his side's trip to St James' Park.

"For the first time in my entire life as a manager I actually heard an owner of a football club say it was a mistake he let me go.

"I was grateful in all honesty when Mike came out and said that. It got settled, and life is too short for grudges."

Disucssing his relationship with Benitez, Allardyce added: "Past history wasn't great. Recent history is OK. Certainly there hasn't been any animosity recently.

"It was a good battle at the time. It was me trying to make my way in the Premier League, Rafa just coming in at Liverpool, and we managed to beat them by the way we played and he didn't like it and expressed his opinion.

"At that particular time Liverpool were not supposed to lose against Bolton. What happened was people didn't really know how brilliant the Bolton team was."

Allardyce guided Everton to a point at Liverpool on Sunday when defensive tactics frustrated the Reds and enabled Wayne Rooney to snatch a late equaliser from the penalty spot.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp's post-match interviews were the most tetchy since he arrived in England, but Allardyce said: "As a manager I have every respect for Jurgen, who is an outstanding manager.

"We can all be on the edge sometimes when the right question from you lads [the media] triggers us.

"Liverpool had scored 12 goals in the last two games and my responsibilities were to frustrate -- I make no apologies for that.

"The best way for us to get something out of the game was to stop them scoring. Rarely do teams who open up against Liverpool get any points."


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