Sam Allardyce has praised Sunderland’s fans for sticking by the team – but says rival supporters at Newcastle make their own players ‘fear’ playing at St James’s Park.
Allardyce was responding to claims by Graeme Souness that both Newcastle and Sunderland fans make life hard for their own team at home.
Allardyce, like Souness, has managed United, but he says the supporters at the Stadium of Light couldn’t have been more encouraging as they fight against relegation.
He told Talksport: “Since I’ve arrived, they have been excellent in terms of they’ve seen the progress without getting the results they expected or wanted, so I’ve been very pleased.
“I can’t thank the fans enough for the reception they’ve given me and that they’ve stayed with the players and helped them.
“They have been in this position that many times now that they know if they are showing too much criticism it creates a bit of fear into the players, whereas I have experienced – like Graeme – down the road and that is a factor.
“Their fans can make the players fear playing on their own ground.
“I experienced that in my short time there and many other managers have done that, but from our point of view at Sunderland they have been very, very supportive up to now.”