London - Strapping Sam Allardyce doesn't look the sentimental type, but the West Ham boss says he'd like his team to deny Manchester City the Premier League title in the final match of the season on Sunday because Liverpool's Steven Gerrard deserves to win it.
City, who have already beaten West Ham three times this season, are favourites to become champions. Two points ahead of Liverpool, they also have a much better goal difference and effectively need only a draw on Sunday.
“From a neutral point of view, everybody would like to see Liverpool win it. From a personal point of view I'd like to see Steven Gerrard win it,” Allardyce told the West Ham website.
“It's the last thing for him which he hasn't quite achieved at Liverpool. He's been a one club man all his life. Obviously they've let it slip out of their hands. They had it to take, but they've now left it in the hands of Manchester City.
“On form and the position they're in, you'd have to say Manchester City are the favourites.”
City - one of the world's richest clubs since being bought by Abu Dhabi United Group in 2008 - won 3-1 in the league at Upton Park in October, then trounced Allardyce's side 6-0 and 3-0 in the two-leg Capital One Cup (League Cup) semi-final in January.
“We all know that Manchester City in full flow are very difficult to play against,” he added.
“We've got to go out there and give a fantastic performance to stop them trying to grasp the title. It will be hugely difficult because they're the best team at home in the league, they've only lost once against Chelsea.
“Their goal record is fantastic and they have great players. Every player on top of his form, every player can go out and give everything they've got on the basis that they know we're in the Premier League next year, but let's try and spoil Manchester City's party.”
Amid renewed media reports that he could still lose his job, Allardyce said he was busy planning for the summer and next season.
“There's an exceptionally good pre-season planned for us to get ready for next season and hopefully we'll have fewer injuries,” he said.
“That's the big key for us, the big key to this season has been to plan for next season and make sure that we don't suffer as many injuries as we have this season.” – Reuters