Cape Town - Newly-appointed Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce has launched a scathing attack on the fans of his former club West Ham United, calling them "deluded" and "brainwashed" for their belief that the team should adhere to a particular playing style.
Allardyce, who left at the end of last season after four years at Upton Park, made the comments in his autobiography, which is being serialised by The Sun newspaper.
"My long-ball label was started by Graeme Souness, who got upset whenever I beat him when he was at Blackburn or Newcastle, and was picked up by Arsene Wenger and Rafa Benitez," Allardyce wrote.
"As soon as I was appointed manager (of West Ham) in 2011 the big debate was whether I would follow the 'West Ham way', which nobody could define, but, whatever it was, I apparently didn't play it.
"But the fans were being brainwashed into thinking that, historically, the club had a particular style of play which was akin to Barcelona, which was potty.
"I once called the supporters deluded and I stand by that."
The manager has also cranked up the pressure on Jermain Defoe, saying he intends to tell the struggling striker that he needs to find his best form immediately.
Defoe, 33, returned to the Premier League in January after a stint with Major League Soccer's Toronto FC, but has not made much of an impact, scoring six goals in 23 league starts for Sunderland.
Former manager Dick Advocaat dropped him for his last three games in charge and Allardyce is unwilling to give Defoe too much time to start firing on all cylinders again.
"There is always a place for a goalscorer but you cannot just be a goalscorer today so I don't know if that's something we need to address with Jermain," he said.
"Players who don't play generally don't play because they drop themselves, not because you have dropped them.
"I tell the player: 'There are not many opportunities for me to wait for you to come good.
"When I played I used to say: 'A few more games and I'll come good,' but here at Sunderland, we ain't got a few more games.
"We have got this week to try to win the first game (at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday) and after that it becomes ever more difficult to win it if we don't."
Sunderland are second-bottom of the Premier League with three points from eight games.