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2013-02-18T09:16:00 Updated 2015-02-19T01:16:53

Macca raring to go ahead of Spurs

Assistant manager Neil McDonald says West Ham United will be firing on all cylinders when they return to Barclays Premier League action against Tottenham Hotspur on Monday 25 February.

The Hammers were back on the training pitch at Chadwell Heath on Monday, having completed a warm-weather training camp in Dubai last week. There, McDonald said the players worked hard on maintaining their fitness, but also took the opportunity to recharge their batteries.

West Ham were one of six Barclays Premier League clubs in the Middle East, where the warm temperatures and sunshine provide a mentally and physically beneficial environment for training.

With newly-promoted West Ham sitting eleventh in the table with 12 matches remaining, McDonald said everyone at the club is in positive mood and looking upwards rather than down.

Macca, everyone is now back at Chadwell Heath and preparing for the visit of Spurs. How are things shaping up?

NM - "We are certainly looking forward to the game, that's for sure. We have been to Dubai for a bit of warm-weather training and we have done what we needed to do, which was excellent. The boys have been working very hard, whether that has been running along the beach, swimming or daily sessions in the gym. It's been really, really good.

"We did the same last year and we came back and only lost one out of 22 games, so that is how much going away in warm weather does for the players. It refreshes them, not only physically but mentally, and I'm sure they are raring to go and get ready for Spurs next Monday.

"The weather has been bad here, so going to Dubai was perfect timing because we might not have been able to have got onto the training pitch here. Hopefully it will work in our favour and we will put in a decent performance against Spurs. We'll certainly be ready for the game."

The trip to Dubai was certainly not a case of rewarding the players, was it?

NM - "No, it's never a reward, unless it is something like an end-of-season trip after getting promoted or staying in the Premier League. That would be classed as a reward, but this trip was part of our training regime.

"Training here, all the lads have tracksuit bottoms, gloves and hats on and they are getting no vitamin D in their bodies through the sun. They have been stripped down to their shorts, running along the beach and swimming in the water and working in the gym on their core strength.

"We will get them back on the pitches this week and all tuned in and ready for the Spurs games, which will be very difficult. We're immensely looking forward to it because our home form has been excellent and we want to keep that going."

What other benefits will the warm-weather training camp have had? Will it boost team spirit after a difficult run of results?

NM - "I have seen no cracks in our squad - everyone gets on really, really well. They know what they have to do, and they have certainly done that over the last 18 to 20 months, preparing themselves properly and trying to win games as much as they possibly can.

"If you look at where we are in the table, we're eleventh and you'd certainly have taken that after getting relegated two seasons ago. We've come a long way in a short space of time but we still have to improve as much as we possibly can.

"Going away for a bit of warm-weather training and getting the camaraderie together can only have helped and we'll be back on the training pitch this week preparing for the Spurs game."

As a coaching staff, presumably you are as determined as the players to put together a winning streak, as nobody likes losing football matches?

NM - "Coming into the Premier League is very, very difficult. We had a fantastic start, getting 14 points from the first eight games which was a tremendous return, and that slightly takes the pressure off.

"We've set the bar at a certain height and we're not far away from that bar, which is great. It's easy to look below us and say we're only a certain amount of points away [from the relegation zone], but we're also only a certain amount of points from the top half as well.

"We're where we want to be at the moment. We have some difficult games coming up, but we seem to respond when we have those difficult games and Spurs will be one of them."

Looking back, yourself and Sam Allardyce have ended the season strongly on numerous occasions during your time in charge at Bolton Wanderers and here at West Ham United. That must make you feel confident of doing the same again this term?

NM - "We did a similar trip last year and we got positive results. We might not get the result we want straight away, but it is certain over the coming weeks that the players will up their game, their energy levels and the distances they cover.

"Our all-round play will be better and we'll create lots more chances because we're fresher and have been away. It's no coincidence that five other teams went to Dubai as well, because they are trying to do the same thing as we are.

"We've got plenty of times to switch the players back on again before our next game, so we're really looking forward to it and will be working hard this week to make sure we are ready."

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