West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce has spoken to the media ahead of Saturday's game against Tottenham Hotspur.
Big Sam is eyeing a third victory of the season over the north Londoners, and he fielded questions on his team's form, supporter opinion and Saturday's game itself.
Sam, what do you make of the criticism the team has faced after recent results?
SA: "We haven't kept ourselves up again just yet. Just to get a result in our last home game is very important to us all. We want to finish the season without leaving a dampener on it because of our recent results. I said after the game at West Brom that nobody wants to be criticised, but the game is the game, and it is what it is at the moment. Hostility in terms of disapproval of what you're doing or not doing is part of the job. All together, everybody keeps telling me about how we need to play and what performances we need to give, but in our last four games all of our performances have been very good. But without a result, then comes criticism, so the perception of how you play the game or how you should play the game comes down to only one thing, and that's results, not what you've done for the 90 minutes.
"It's about have you won at the end of it. We've lost all of our last four, but the performances have been as good as the opposition, and in lots of cases better. I can't remember us playing as well as we did against Liverpool this season, but we lost to two penalties and it's a defeat, rather than getting something out of the game against one of the favourites to win the league.
"Against Arsenal the overall performance was there, then Crystal Palace and West Brom, everyone talks about possession and we out-possessed both Crystal Palace and West Brom, but because we haven't won everyone perceives that they were poor performances. I know what is right, and I know it's a results-driven business. We're not getting results and without results you get criticised, and we all accept that."
Does the criticism bother you?
SA: "Since the end of the transfer window, we're in the top half of the table for points gained, we're 14th in the league, six teams are below us who'd like to be where we are, and that's the reality. Disappointment is always expressed in many different ways and the only way to stop the disappointment is to go and win a football match.
"Of course it bothers you, but you don't let it affect your clear thinking. You concentrate on the players and make sure they continue to strive to get better and better."
You obviously want to continue the job you've started here...
SA: "I wouldn't see it any other way, until either David Sullivan, David Gold or Karren Brady ring me and tell me otherwise. You've got to remember that we're all in this together and that's why we are where we are. We're trying to progress the football club, so I'm delivering what the owners want, and at the moment we've got what we want - not as much as we wanted, but we've got what we want nearly. We're very, very close to being in the Premier League for a third season and trying to make the Club better and stabilising its position, particularly going forward to become a club that has the capability of sustaining it's Premier League status, growing slowly but surely and making sure it stays in the Premier League for a long period of time."
Can you talk a bit about the job Tim Sherwood has done at Tottenham?
SA: "Like I said in our field you never know what's going to happen. You're never comfortable, wherever you are, and in Tim's position I think he's proven that he can handle the job and he's proven that he's learned as he's gone on. You're bound to slip up when you're doing it for the first time, I still slip up after 20-odd years. We all make mistakes, but you learn from them and I think he's learned very quickly. I think Tottenham have done very, very well under him and what they decide at the end of the day is up to the owners and board at Tottenham."
Two of your best results this season have come against Tottenham Hotspur...
SA: "Yes, and it would be absolutely fantastic to beat them at home, having beaten them in the Capital One Cup and in the league. At this moment in time, our concerns are, one, we were one of the best clean sheets in the league eight or nine games ago and we haven't kept one since then. That's been our demise that has caused us a few problems. Two, and it's been the case all season, that the chances created have always been there, but our conversion rate when you look at the stats hasn't been good enough.
"If we are to beat Tottenham it's no good to continue to play well if we carry on making basic errors. West Brom's goal was down to our poor defending, not their ability and we have to eradicate that. We have to put the ball in the net when the chances come because otherwise the pressure heaps on you more than it should."
You talk about teams who allow you to play an expansive game and Tottenham are one of them aren't they?
SA: "They come and play and try and open up because of the quality of players that they have. They will think their eleven is better than yours, but on the day if your players hit top form we're more than capable of beating them. We have to be very wary of what their strengths are and make sure their strengths are nullified. Then we have to make sure we use our strengths to try and break their defensive unit down and take our chances when we get them."
What's your team news for Saturday, Sam?
SA: "We've got a virtually fully-fit squad. Only Marco Borriello is still injured and the rest of the team are available, which gives me a selection process which is for me to decide which is the best eleven to go out and try and win our last home game. Winning the last home game [is important] because you want to send everyone home happy."
You have four or five players out of contract at the moment, what's the situation with them?
SA: "None of the players are going to be decided on individually, we will decide at the same time. If we secure a point or more on Saturday, then we can start that process. If we know we're safe, we'll move in that area as quickly as we possibly can."