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2013-08-30T09:31:00 Updated 2015-02-19T00:07:04

Big Sam on: Stoke City

Sam Allardyce has challenged his West Ham United team to continue their fine defensive form when they welcome Stoke City to the Boleyn Ground on Saturday.

Big Sam's team have yet to concede in the first two games of the new Barclays Premier League season, and are looking to continue that run against a team who they took four points from in the last campaign.

The team will however be without French international Alou Diarra, whose season looks likely to be over after a knee injury he suffered in the Capital One Cup victory over Cheltenham Town.

Good morning Sam, could you start by giving us team news for the weekend?

SA: "Our team news is that only Alou Diarra, who unfortunately got injured the other night, is not involved in the squad. The injury is more serious than we expected and it's an ACL reconstruction it looks like, so that will almost certainly finish Alou's season. It's a big blow to us in squad terms, he was hoping to force his way into the side this season but obviously after that injury that now won't be the case."

Does the injury to Alou affect your thinking ahead of the transfer deadline?

SA: "Like I said, at the moment funds are the restriction in the new rules and regulations and our funds are almost, if not to the limit. Having spoken to David Sullivan, unless it's a really good deal and it's on loan then that might be a possibility, but anything other than that and we will find it difficult to do."

Ravel Morrison is someone you've had to steer in the right direction at times so how pleasing was it to see his performance in midweek?

SA: "It's a carry-on of his pre-season performances and we're all delighted to see the performance he gave against Cheltenham, particularly the goal because that's added to a total of seven in pre-season. He's making a big statement now and that's good. From a midfield point of view now it's Kevin Nolan, Mark Noble and Mo Diame watch out, this boy's after your place.

"It's going to really kick-start those three to make sure they perform at the level we know they can because this lad, sooner or later, will get the chance and maybe take it. It's really pleasing that we've got competition for places, and for the lads to come down and watch him play like that, perks their ears up and makes them think they don't want it to be me that they're replacing."

Stoke have undergone a lot of changes over the summer, what do you expect from them on Saturday?

SA: "There's no doubt that every manager has a different way of managing a football club. Every manager, his coaches and backroom staff will have different ideas on what squad you've got, what system you play, and it's all about you getting the best out of your players. So I imagine Mark has adjusted the team, I don't think he will have done anything dramatic, because dramatic change unhinges players from what they're used to. I think his turn will be a slow process, but as we know when you move into a new club fans want you to get results, and they want you to get results and victories as quick as you can otherwise they show their dissatisfaction very quickly these days."

Regarding Mark Hughes, how do you think he will fare taking over from Tony Pulis?

SA: "Mark Hughes is hugely experienced and he'll be glad to get the chance to manage in the Premier League again after the disappointment he had at QPR. He's had his rest, he's no doubt learned huge amounts from the experience he had at QPR, he'll take that and become a better manager than he was before and he was a pretty good manager before that. He knows the pressures of this league so I can't see him having any problems dealing with it. He knows like everyone else that your job is judged on results. You can play whatever system you want, pick whichever players you want to choose but if you don't win then people are dissatisfied and when people are dissatisfied owners change managers and they do it very quickly, so your responsibility first and foremost is to get results for the first team."

It must be pleasing that you've yet to concede in two league matches so far?

SA: "It's very pleasing indeed; the only disappointment is that we don't have six points on the board after last week. It was our own fault that we didn't get it, but the players realise that and in the days after when we've reviewed the game against Newcastle they saw the fact that it was there for the taking and but for their poor finishing in front of goal we would have secured the three points. Defensively speaking, two games in the Premier League and Jussi hasn't had to make a save yet. If Jussi is in the same boat again on Saturday afternoon and he gets a clean sheet then I think we'll win the game. I think we'll score here at Upton Park, it's not often it goes to a 0-0 here, so if we can get that all important clean sheet then I think we'll definitely grab the three points."

What's the situation with Ricardo Vaz Te after he handed in a transfer request?

SA: "He might leave now, if anybody's going to leave now it would be Vaz. You don't keep anybody that doesn't want to stay. If a club comes and makes the right offer for him then we would be more than happy to accommodate the transfer request he's given us."

Have you had any offers for him yet?

SA: "No, but like I said I would expect that in the next few days that we probably will have an inquiry."

Is your relationship with Vaz beyond repair?

SA: "No 18 to 20 years ago he'd probably never have kicked a ball for the club again. In today's world and me perhaps being a bit more mature and mellow, then I'm always ready to give someone a second chance, but at this moment in time if he wants to leave then he can, I've no problem with that. It's just that the club who wants him will have to pay a fair price that we consider is right for Vaz. He won't get to leave this football club just because he wants to and somebody thinks they can get him for a price that we don't value him at."

Where will you be on transfer deadline day?

SA: "I don't know yet, I don't have to be anywhere special because contacts between phone and computer mean you can link up anywhere at any time. But like I said I expected it to be a quiet one for us this year, not like last year when we had Matt Jarvis, Andy Carroll and Yossi Benayoun arriving in the last week. I'm glad to say we haven't got to find three players this time, we haven't got the money to find three players this time either, but if there is the chance of one loan player or if someone goes out it might be two loan players, but if no one does then it might not be anybody." 


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