Paul: Work Continues

Paul Goddard says that the hard will continue for the management team at Upton Park long after the last ball of the season is kicked on Saturday.

He says:

"It doesn't really end; Glenn is going to be very busy in the next few weeks preparing for next season.

"We certainly want to keep everyone together and we want to add to the squad; we certainly don't want to lose any of our better players, so we will just have to keep our fingers crossed that that doesn't happen."

And Glenn himself insists, for the benefit of those that still don't believe him, that he has no desire to sell - and neither do the top players at the club want to leave.

"It is the silly season coming early; no one has approached us about any of our senior players since Manchester United and Paolo Di Canio earlier in the season," he says.

"Players who play here every week would have to be aware that if they went to 'bigger' clubs, they would probably be part of a rotation system, which would mean giving up 38 games in the Premiership for, possibly, half that."

He stresses once more that he is looking to acquire, rather than offload, talent, and adds:

"We have been thinking about next season since last Christmas and have had regular meetings with our scouting staff putting together a list of new players; we need strength in depth, because I am working with the smallest squad in the Premiership.

"We only 13 or 14 players here who have played a dozen or more games, and ideally I want to get four players in; we have in mind a couple of good Bosmans and a one or two who will be reasonably inexpensive because they are going into the last year of their contracts."

Paul says speculation about top talent leaving the club - Fredi Kanoute is the latest name to be linked with other clubs - is becoming wearisome and adds:

"It is annoying for me and Glenn, but what it does prove is that we have got some very good players that other clubs would like.

"Fredi would be the first to say he has trained in the last part of the season as hard as he has done all year.

"He has been smiling and he is happy - if someone said he was unhappy and wanted to leave you would say he was silly.

"That is judging by his actions around the place and the way he has played for us as well.

"I know he was a little bit hurt by some of the criticisms he was getting from the crowd, and at times I can understand them.

"There are times when Fred looks as if he is ambling and not trying to shut the ball down but we think we are slowly getting Fred to work harder and harder; if anyone had seen him play at Arsenal and Newcastle they would totally agree about that.

"It is something we are trying to instil in all the players, and it is certainly something we want consistently.

"He has had a number of colds this year and it really does affect him when he gets influenza, but Glenn worked out his goalscoring rate to appearances recently and it really is excellent.

"We want to try and keep Fred out on the pitch as much as possible, but he has to deal with the criticism because we all get criticised - some get it more than others but that is human nature.

"Some players tend to get that; I don't think he is overly concerned about it but he doesn't want to draw that attention to himself, but I am sure he is confident his footballing ability will overcome that."

As for the preparations for Bolton, he adds:

"It has been a bit strange having this fortnight's gap; the lads had a bit of time off and then we met up again this week - and everyone is in fine fettle for the weekend.

"What has pleased me is that we have kicked on from the moment we actually got ourselves safe and our away performances improved dramatically as well, even though we have suffered a couple of away defeats.

"It would be very nice to finish above Spurs and I would imagine there are quite a few bets riding on this weekend from the start of the season through people in workplaces and they will be resolved at a quarter to five on Saturday."

Paul says he has no problems with the fact that the flak was flying earlier in the season, and adds:

"There was a lot of criticism, and not without reason; we were suffering badly away from home at the start of the season with a couple of heavy defeats.

"If you do get beat like that you deserve criticism and you have to live with it in this game; but we never really let it get to us.

"The whole game is about opinions and every time someone makes a decision there are criticisms made in any area of football.

"Appointing Glenn and myself drew some criticism but it has to be like water off a duck's back, and you have to get on with it and do your job as best you can."

Jermain Defoe is looking to end his season on a good note before going off with England U21s to Switzerland - accompanied, of course, by Steve Bywater and Michael Carrick - and Paul says of him:

"Jermain has moved on a number of steps this year, and Glenn has already made it publicly known that he will try to protect him this year.

"We are looking forward to the game and we would like to finish on a good note."