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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Aug 13, 2006

Big Sam fumes over international calendar

Sam Allardyce is incensed that international fixtures have been scheduled in the opening week of the Premiership season.

The Bolton manager believes his side's chances of getting off to a winning start have been hampered because of the midweek programme.

Allardyce has six players away this week in the run-up to the home match against Tottenham.

He said: 'Can you tell me one manager who is not upset at these internationals.

'For my part, I am someone who works and thrives on preparation.

'One of the key areas is sending my side out to make fewer mistakes than the opposition.

'If you do not have good preparation then you are leaving your team open to making more mistakes than normal.

'Most of the teams we come up against have spent far greater amounts of money on transfer fees and wages.

'You rely on your work to try and overcome that.

'That ethic has served us well and is why we have stayed in Premiership for six seasons.

'We have been ready in most areas more than a lot of teams.'

Tottenham are being tipped to do well while Bolton's pre-season results have been poor. Five of their six friendlies have ended in defeat and they went down 3-1 to AZ Alkmaar yesterday.

Allardyce said: 'Mistakes can cost you valuable points.

'There is nothing more valuable than the first three points, especially when you are at home.

'We have two away games after that then we lose our players for two weeks because of the Euro qualifiers.

'This is why I dislike the situation with the international matches this week.'

Greece winger Stelios Giannakopoulos is one of the Bolton players who will be engaged in midweek as the former European champions face England at Old Trafford.

He would not comment on whether new coach Steve McClaren had made an error of judgement by omitting David Beckham.

But Giannakopoulos stated: 'I am surprised Beckham has not been selected. I did not expect that.'

He added: 'I am looking forward to the game, especially as I do not have to travel far.

'It is only 20 minutes by car so I will not be as tired as the rest of the squad.

'This is the last big test for us before we play Moldova in the Euro qualifiers.

'England are such a big team in Europe this will give us an indication of the level we are at.'