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 By PA Sport

Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez defends Everton's Sam Allardyce after fan poll

Rafael Benitez has leapt to the defence of old foe Sam Allardyce after Everton fans were asked to rate their manager's performance this season.

Newcastle boss Benitez has not always seen eye-to-eye with Allardyce, with whom he will go head-to-head once again in the Premier League at Goodison Park on Monday.

However, he is in agreement with the former England boss over a survey which asked season ticket holders, among other things, to rate his performance from zero to 10.

Asked if that was disrespectful, Benitez said: "Yes, it was a massive mistake. I don't agree with him on a lot of things, but on this one it is obvious it was a mistake.

"You cannot be talking about that, especially when things are not going so well. It makes no sense.''

Allardyce has come under pressure in recent weeks after a run of four wins in 16 league games left his side sitting in ninth place in the table, one point better off than the promoted Magpies, who have a game in hand.

Asked what mark he would give himself out of 10 for the season, Benitez said: "I would not do it.

"It depends on you. It depends on the target you have, the tools you have to achieve your objectives. Everyone is different.

"Any owner might say, 'You have to do this and I will give you that.' You can be the best manager in the role if you achieve what he wants to achieve.

"I don't know what his [Allardyce's] target was. He knows what he has. In this case, we are happy with the things we are doing.

"There have been two successful years and we will try to do even better if we can.''

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