Pep Guardiola: West Brom manager Sam Allardyce 'a genius', says Manchester City boss

Sam Allardyce and Pep Guardiola on the touchline
Sam Allardyce last faced Pep Guardiola's Manchester City when he was in charge of Everton in 2018

Pep Guardiola has called West Brom boss Sam Allardyce "a genius" for his ability to save clubs from relegation.

Allardyce is aiming to maintain his record of never being relegated as he attempts to save the second-from-bottom Baggies from the drop.

He has saved Sunderland and Blackburn from similar positions in the past.

Allardyce knows how to get results "when everyone believes it is over", said Guardiola, whose side visit West Brom in the Premier League on Tuesday.

The Baggies have managed only one win in seven games since Allardyce took over from Slaven Bilic on 16 December, a day after the Croat oversaw a hard-earned draw away to Guardiola's City, and are now five points from safety rather than two.

But although their sole victory against Wolves this month was followed by a defeat by West Ham, Guardiola says the Black Country derby triumph and holding champions Liverpool to a draw at Anfield in December show Allardyce's good work at The Hawthorns.

"It is not easy to take over a team during the season, but against Wolves, Liverpool, other clubs he got good results," the Spaniard said.

"Sam Allardyce is a genius."

Allardyce has never taken over a club and failed to improve on their league position before leaving.

Twice previously has has taken a side from 19th in the Premier League to safety, first with Blackburn in the 2008-09 season and again with Sunderland in the 2015-16 season before then leaving to take the England job.

After just one game and an ill-fated 67-day stint as national team boss, he then returned to club management to guide Crystal Palace away from the relegation spots and up to 14th in the table in 2016-17.

Sergio Aguero
Sergio Aguero has scored 20 goals or more in five of the last six Premier League seasons

Aguero can still bring Man City success

Meanwhile, Guardiola says Sergio Aguero can still score the goals to make Manchester City's season successful.

Injuries and a positive Covid-19 test, have contributed to the Argentine making just three starts this term.

But, City's Spanish boss feels that Aguero, 32, could still play a key role as the season reaches its climax.

"He is going to help us in the decisive moments, to give us the goals and the difference that we need," said Guardiola.

City, who are already in the EFL Cup final and chasing silverware in the FA Cup and Champions League, are second in the Premier League, two points behind leaders Manchester United with a game in hand.

However, Aguero who is City's all-time top scorer, is yet to score in the Premier League this season and has played just 31 minutes of top-flight football since his last start on 24 October.

He missed the start of the campaign after having knee surgery in the summer and his comeback was complicated by a hamstring injury and further knee trouble.

Aguero had appeared on the brink of a return earlier in January but had to self-isolate as a close contact of someone to have tested positive for coronavirus, before testing positive himself.

"I don't know when he is coming back, February or March, but I'm so optimistic that he will give us, until the end of the season, some good, good months," Guardiola added.

"I'm so confident it's going to happen. Now he needs to test negative and abide by the protocols and then start to come back here, and then move and see how he feels day by day."

Guardiola said he could not put a timeframe on when Aguero would be able to return to training.

"But hopefully he can help us with the special quality he has," he added. "That's why he is one of the best strikers ever - not just in England - of all time in football history."

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