By Jonty Banks

30th May, 2023 | 1:10pm

Dean Saunders praises 'genius' Sam Allardyce live on talkSPORT despite Leeds United relegation

Sam Allardyce is “near on a genius” as a manager despite being relegated from the Premier League with Leeds United, according to talkSPORT pundit Dean Saunders.

After replacing Javi Gracia in the Elland Road dugout earlier in May, Allardyce only managed to pick up one point from his four league outings, with a 2-2 draw against Newcastle.

The Daily Mail reported (30 May) that Leeds are already considering new managers after the club’s Championship status was confirmed, with crunch talks regarding the Englishman’s future at the club expected this week.

Speaking live on talkSPORT Breakfast (30 May), Saunders waxed lyrical about Allardyce’s coaching career but admitted he should be compared in a different manner to tactical genius’ such as Pep Guardiola.

“I think he [Allardyce] is near on a genius in what he does,” he said.

“I’ve seen how he works, and if you give him a bad set of tools, he can make something out of it normally and he’s done it all of his career.

“I’m not talking like your tactical genius such as Pep Guardiola, I think for people like Roy Hodgson and Sam Allardyce, who have had over 1000 games as managers, if you survive more than six months, you’re doing something right, so I think he’s a really good manager.”

Too little too late

Although Allardyce has amassed a glittering managerial CV, which includes his fair share of miraculous Premier League escapes, this was just one challenge too far.

Giving him just four games was always going to be an almighty challenge after the first team’s depressing form under Javi Gracia, and considering three of these were against European hopefuls, it was made that much tougher.

There were plenty of things working against Big Sam, but he still didn’t deliver what many fans would have expected.

Although he adopted his stereotypical pragmatic approach with Leeds, they looked rudderless in attack for large portions of matches, and the fact they still conceded four goals against Spurs when fielding six defenders is damning.

Allardyce will move on from Elland Road this summer, and his reputation won’t be tarnished much at all.

He remains one of the Premier League survival specialists, but this time around, Leeds United proved one challenge too many.

In other Leeds news, the club are expecting a relegation release clause for one player to be triggered this summer.