Sam Allardyce entertained the media on Friday morning to talk all things football ahead of Saturday's trip to White Hart Lane.

The manager discussed the tough run of fixtures the Hammers face, Tottenham Hotspur's form under new manager Andre Villas Boas and the appointment of Rafael Benitez as the interim Chelsea boss.

Big Sam also spoke about the Hammers' chances of achieving a first win at White Hart Lane in 13 years, so read on to find out his thoughts on what could be a memorable weekend.

Sam, you have had a tough run of fixtures lately but do the next three or four games take it to an even higher level?

SA: "I am not sure about that because we played Manchester City and Newcastle recently and Stoke was also a tough game. I think that the games coming up are of a similar stature, but they also come within just six days. The fixtures are hard enough on an individual basis but to have them in such a short space of time makes it more difficult. We will certainly see what the players and the squad are made of by the end of next week."

Will this be the toughest six days your squad has faced and are you hopeful that you can come away with positive results?

SA: "I think that the players at this Football Club worked very hard last year to play in fixtures like the ones coming up. It is always a massive challenge for a newly-promoted side to face the likes of Manchester United but I think it is a challenge that the players look forward too. It is all about accumulating the points and continuing to pick them up as often as possible. If we carry on to do this then we will move towards a points total that will ensure safety."

Is the aim for you this season still survival despite what has been a very encouraging start to the season?

SA: "We know we are in a very good position but this run of fixtures could cause us a few problems. I think we will play well and I do not think we will let ourselves down but we could play our best in the next four games and lose all four. If Tottenham, Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool are all at their best then it is going to be very difficult for us. They are all in good form at the moment so for us it is all about playing our best and hopefully that will allow us to get some points."

We know fans do, but do the players and staff look forward to these games more than most because it is a derby?

SA: "Yes I think that local derbies are always very special. They are games that the fans and the players always enjoy and our hope is that we can come away with a few positive results. I hope we can take our game to Tottenham and cause them a few problems. They played on Thursday night in the Europa League so there is bound to be a little fatigue and hopefully we can exploit that. The encouraging thing for us is that Wigan Athletic went there recently and came away with a win. It has not been the fortress that the fans maybe expected and hopefully that will count in our favor."

After winning at Newcastle United last time on the road, do you feel that another win away from home on Sunday would give the players the confidence they need for the rest of the season?

SA: "I think we have got it now. We are a third of the way through the season and we have produced a high level of performance so we have the confidence and belief to keep that going. I have got to keep driving the players on and I have to strive to make the players even better. My aim is to ensure that the players continue to play well and improve. The squad was put together in the summer and a lot of new players came in so we will continue to grow as we get to know each other better."

How different a team do you feel Tottenham are under Andre Villa-Boas compared to Harry Redknapp?

SA: "I do not really know to be perfectly honest with you. I have read the scout reports and watched a few videos but I definitely think the system has changed. We very rarely saw Jermaine Defoe employed as a lone striker when Harry was in charge but we have seen it quite a lot under Andre. There has been a change in how they play and a little change in positions and selection. Some of that has been forced because top quality players like Luke Modric have left and they are very hard to replace. They have been going okay but only time will tell whether it will be enough."

Do you believe those changes will help or hinder West Ham United because it is over 13-years since you won at White Hart Lane?

SA: "I do not know because a lot of that depends on what kind of West Ham side went to Tottenham and how they would have been set up. If you want the team to go out and win you need to use tactics that allow them to do that but you also need them to perform to a very high level. If the team does not play well against a side like Tottenham then that will not happen because they are a very good team."

What have you made of the events at Stamford Bridge this week, with Roberto Di Matteo departing and Rafa Benitez coming in?

SA: "I think it will be difficult to take for Roberto because it is so early in the season. He will be very disappointed in what has happened, especially after last season, and I think he would have believed that, given time, he could have turned it around. Unfortunately, as we have seen at Chelsea for a number of years now, you do not get given a lot of time if results are not at a very high level."

Are you surprised that Rafa Benitez has agreed to a short-term contract after agreeing a deal until the end of the season?

SA: "Well, it is not unusual at Chelsea because it is not the first time they have opted to employ an interim manager. They have had Avram Grant, Gus Hiddink, Roberto Di Matteo and now Rafa Benitez, so it is the route they take when a manager departs. Looking back they have all done pretty well so it is just the way their football club works at the moment. Their owner is perfectly entitled to do what he wishes with the club, particularly seeing as he invests in it so heavily. We as fans and managers may see it in a different way but he is entitled to his own opinion."

You face Chelsea on the Saturday 1 December, so how do you think Rafa Benitez will get on this season?

SA: "Yes, we do face them very soon. Rafa has been waiting for a big club for a long time and now he has got one. I think ultimately he will be looking for Fernando Torres to recapture the form he had under him at Liverpool. If he can get that and Torres begins playing to the level we know he can, then Chelsea will be a force to be reckoned with this season."

Chelsea