Does Allardyce get the credit he deserves?
Sam Allardyce admitted defeat after victory. No-one, he insists, will ever give Blackburn Rovers or their manager the credit they deserve.
This is not strictly true. Allardyce, for one, is never slow to talk up his own talents or the achievements of his players. In the absence of what he regards as their due from elsewhere, perhaps he is right to do so.
For a manager who is unlikely to ever take charge of one of the elite Premier League clubs, Allardyce cuts an oddly divisive figure in the court of public opinion.
From the methods he employs to his very obvious refusal to indulge in false modesty, such as claiming he is more suited to Inter Milan or Real Madrid than Bolton Wanderers and Blackburn Rovers, Allardyce provokes a reaction.
He was reading from a familiar script after Blackburn's 3-0 win against Wolves put them into eighth place in the table and sent Mick McCarthy's side to the bottom of the Premier League.
More on McCarthy later, but for Allardyce it was a sweet victory as he said: "We never get credit for things, but that's the way it is. We are just a small town club enjoying ourselves by winning football matches. The fortress of Ewood Park is back and the walls are getting higher."
When Allardyce arrived at Ewood Park, Blackburn were second from bottom in the table - photo: Press Association
I asked Allardyce whether he would ever get the credit he feels he should and what he might need to do to get it, and he explained: "Keep winning football matches. The most important thing is winning and entertaining and I think our fans will be happy we have beaten Aston Villa and Wolves at home in consecutive games without conceding a goal.
"If you get the maximum out of your players you can't ask any more than that."
And, with the exception of a spell at Newcastle United that ended in the sack, this is usually what Allardyce does, and whether outsiders regard the manner as pleasing on the eye or not is a matter of supreme indifference to this most self-assured of characters.
Of course there is an element of bluff about Allardyce's complaint, an "us against the world" attitude that serves his purposes well - but there is also an element of truth.
Praising Allardyce is not fashionable, or in many areas popular, but Blackburn did mix passing football with their usual trademark expertise from set-pieces here. Indeed, there was a surreal spell near the conclusion when Blackburn drew jeers from some of their own supporters for a passage of keep-ball designed to secure the result. Allardyce might have appreciated the irony.
And if, as we are constantly told, the Premier League and management are results-based businesses, then Allardyce's achievements at Ewood Park stand up to the closest scrutiny.
Some of the criticism he attracted has been justified, especially when he appeared to join forces with Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson to deliver a trumped-up accusation that former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez had shown him and Blackburn a lack of respect two season ago.
But Allardyce is wrong when he says he and Blackburn do not get the credit they deserve, because they will get it right here.
When he succeeded Paul Ince in December 2008, they were second from bottom of the table. In two years he has secured their safety, taken them to 10th place last season and has put them in the upper reaches again, albeit in a season in its infancy.
Allardyce's approach and style of play is a taste many will never acquire, and so much is based on football's percentages that he calculates meticulously. It remains to be seen how high they finish in the Premier League in this campaign, but it is a safe bet Blackburn will not return to the lowly position in which he found them while he stays at Ewood Park.
In fact, Mike Ashley's decision to bundle him hastily out of Newcastle United on a tide of adverse public opinion backfired because, for the derision Allardyce attracts in some quarters, it is unlikely they would have ended up in the Championship under his stewardship.
He is proud of his appliance of the game's scientific side and attention to fine detail, announcing he had given his players two days off this week as he was worried about the effects of mental fatigue caused by extended car journeys to Blackburn's training ground in adverse weather.
Allardyce admitted he needed to rest himself after the 7-1 thrashing at Manchester United last Saturday. He revealed "an inquest" had been held, and Blackburn produced a performance to refresh players and manager.
As two of the teams recently named and shamed as players in the Premier League's dark side by Fulham's Danny Murphy earlier this season, Blackburn and Wolves produced a game to enjoy at a freezing Ewood Park as heavy rain washed away the snow.
Wolves opened as if they would sweep Blackburn away as Steven Ward and Ronald Zubar tested the woodwork, but once David Dunn headed in following a Morten Gamst Pedersen corner, the game was more or less up.
Shoddy defending allowed Jason Roberts to bully Steve Mouyokolo in pursuit of Michel Salgado's pass to set up a second for Brett Emerton. Wolves were wretched again when Ryan Nelsen turned in a precise Pedersen free-kick for Blackburn's third.
Wolves roused themselves late on, but it was academic other than for allowing Paul Robinson to demonstrate that he is still good enough to play for England with fine saves from Stephen Hunt and George Elokobi.
McCarthy's post-match briefing was belated, blunt and brief. It would be no surprise if his message to his players was delivered in even more stark and brutal terms - but the bottom line is that they do not appear to be listening.
No clean sheets in 16 league games is a defining statistic. If this continues it will be a long, hard season for all the talent of players like Matt Jarvis. McCarthy either needs to find a new message to make his point, especially to his defenders, or he needs new players.
Armed with finance from Blackburn's new Indian owners, Allardyce will be looking to make tweaks of his own - but his gaze is set up rather than down.
And he will continue to manage in the manner he employs with a concrete self-confidence, whether it brings him credit or not.