Allardyce insists Benitez quarrels are 'water under the bridge'

The 58-year-old manager has played down suggestions he will be motivated by a personal rivalry with the Spaniard and claims his focus is purely on getting a result on Saturday
West Ham manager Sam Allardyce insists his past disagreements with Rafa Benitez are now “water under the bridge” ahead of his side’s clash with European Champions Chelsea on Saturday.

Allardyce was in charge of Blackburn when he engaged in a series of public confrontations with the then-Liverpool manager Benitez.

However, the Hammers boss insists any problems are now in the past and adds he is focused solely on the game ahead.

"It was a long time ago, a lot of water has gone under the bridge since then and I am just looking forward to the game,” Allardyce told reporters.

"I don't want to jump into that scenario, I am a bit bigger than that, I don't want to go tit for tat.

9/1 Chelsea and West Ham are 9/1 with Bet365 to share a 0-0 draw
"All I do is look to compete at a level going against not just Chelsea,  but also against a man who has a real good record, to see if we can upset them."

Ahead of the London derby, Allardyce believes Benitez’s Chelsea side are still a dangerous prospect and does not want to let a run of just two wins in 10 fool him.

"In the last two games they have not conceded a goal," he added. "At the heart of every good side is producing a clean sheet.

"Rafa has already sorted out what was a problem under former manager Roberto Di Matteo, and now they have got a couple of clean sheets in a row, so it will not be long before they can turn that into a victory if they continue to defend like that.

"It will be more difficult to break Chelsea down than it would have been, chances will be few and far between."