Sam Allardyce spoke to the media at the Boleyn Ground on Friday morning ahead of West Ham United's final Barclays Premier League game of the season against Manchester City on Sunday.
Big Sam discussed the latest team news, the chances of causing an upset on Sunday and his verdict on the team's performance this campaign.
Morning Sam, it's the last game of what's been a tough season for you. How would you assess your team's season?
SA: "I think it's been a very tough season. Everybody's found this season to be rather unique in terms of how it's panned out here and there. We've all had our ups and downs, but the bottom line is we've delivered the ultimate goal, to stay in the Barclays Premier League. We obviously wanted to do a little better than we've actually done, but 12th at the moment comes in around where we thought we might have finished in budget terms. After Sunday's result it may change a position or two depending on what result we get.
"Sustaining our position in the Barclays Premier League was obviously critical for us. Yes we'd have liked to done a little better, particularly at home because our away record has improved compared to last season, but our home record hasn't produced as many points as last season. We had some extenuating circumstances that everybody's aware of, we overcame those and we finished the season on a high last week with a third victory over Tottenham which has never happened before in the history of the Club against our old rivals."
How much of a say do you think you can have on the destination of the title?
SA: "I watched the game against Aston Villa the other night and we all know that Manchester City in full flow are very difficult to play against. We've got to go out there and give a fantastic performance to stop them trying to grasp the title. It will be hugely difficult because they're the best team at home in the league, they've only lost once against Chelsea. Their goal record is fantastic and they have great players. Every player on top of his form, every player can go out and give everything they've got on the basis that they know we're in the Premier League next year, but let's try and spoil Manchester City's party."
Will Andy Carroll want to score the goals that could win Liverpool the title?
SA: "I'm not so sure he's thinking about that, I think he'd like to score the goals for West Ham. All we can do is concentrate on ourselves and concentrate on getting our tactics and performance right. The team will probably be at full strength and I think we have some very good players that we have to make sure that we cope as a team. Individually they're better than us, but as a team we can build a resilience, a frustration and then maybe create a chance or two when we have possession which is going to be critical for us on the day."
Who do you want to win the title going into the last day of the season?
SA: "From a neutral point of view, everybody would like to see Liverpool win it. From a personal point of view I'd like to see Steven Gerrard win it. It's the last thing for him which he hasn't quite achieved at Liverpool. He's been a one club man all his life. Obviously they've let it slip out of their hands. They had it to take, but they've now left it in the hands of Manchester City. On form and the position they're in, you'd have to say Manchester City are the favourites."
How much credit does Manuel Pellegrini deserve if City do go on to win the title?
SA: "Huge, I think. It's his first season and I think that anybody arriving for their first season at a football club and to achieve what he's achieved if he does win the Premier League and the Capital One Cup, means that they've done the double and there's not a lot more you can ask. There's money spent at every club, but everyone knows that this is the hardest league in the world to win and it's been shown this year more than ever before."
Do you think that some fans have been quick to forget what the team achieved last season?
SA: "No, not really. I think that what we have to do is plan to get better. Each season as we go along we've got to try and use the money that we have to find better players and make sure the team when it starts the following season is better than the season before. That's our main priority. There's an exceptionally good pre-season planned for us to get ready for next season and hopefully we'll have fewer injuries. That's the big key for us, the big key to this season has been to plan for next season and make sure that we don't suffer as many injuries as we have this season."
Have you discussed how much you'll have to spend in the summer?
SA: "No, not yet. That comes in the meeting next week, when we join up to discuss the way forward and discuss what's happened this season."
What's your evaluation of the season as a whole?
SA: "We're in 12th position and we know we have a strong squad that we need to build on. We know that when everyone's fit and available that we can compete at this level. Without any doubt the highs were the three victories against Tottenham. People will remember it for a long time because it's created a little bit of history as it's never happened before. It will go down in the history books as something which happened this season and people will not forget it as time goes by. People will remember that we've beaten Tottenham three times in one season."