Big Sam on: Swansea City

Sam Allardyce is delighted the transfer window has finally slammed shut, so that he can get back to concentrating solely on matters on the pitch.

Swansea City are Saturday's visitors to the Boleyn Ground and Big Sam insists that it is the Swans' defensive prowess, as well as their attractive brand of possession football, that has laid the foundations for a second successful season in the Barclays Premier League.

The Hammers, meanwhile, go in search of a first league win since New Year's Day and Allardyce remains confident that his side's excellent home form will stand them in good stead for Saturday.

Sam, how glad are you that the transfer window has finally closed?

SA: "Well I think we're all waking up this morning and whether we've done as much as we wanted to or not, we'll all be pleased that we can focus purely on the football matches we've got between now and the end of the season. I think that all the usual mayhem has taken place yet again and we've all been in the middle of it at some stage or another. Of course the distraction is a huge part of trying to get through this period and still trying to produce the results. For us, we haven't got the results we wanted for one reason or another. We've strengthened the team as best we possibly can and the most important thing at the end of yesterday was that we kept Mohamed Diame.

"You're always disappointed in this window, because it has always been so ferocious in terms of what you want to do. We've brought in players to strengthen a squad that has already proven that they can cope at this level at the first of time asking back in the Barclays Premier League. We've tried to strengthen that to give us a little boost and hopefully we've done that."

How do you think you can lift the team and squad to pick up more points?

SA: "It's pretty simple really. We've got to get back to being defensively solid as a unit. If you look at the team we're playing on Saturday, the reason they're so successful is contrary to what you all think, it's because they have the best defensive record in the league. When they score a goal they win a game of football and they don't concede many, in fact they hardly concede any. When you win, that brings you the greatest reward of all, because three points for a win and only one for a draw make a massive difference to anybody in the league.

"Swansea have been outstanding both in and out of possession, that's what has impressed me the most. From our point of view, I don't think we've had a clean sheet since West Bromwich Albion away and because of that we have not managed to secure the wins we wanted to. The games we should have won we ended up drawing and those we should have drawn we've lost."

You're taking on a Swansea team in top form...

SA: "They're in top form. I watched the Sunderland game and they should have won it right at the very end. But then you look at the statistics and Sunderland played 90 minutes at home with no shots on target whatsoever. That shows you how good a team Swansea are.

Are you concerned that you haven't won since New Year's Day?

SA: "We're very concerned at this moment in time. We've only taken five points out of the last eight games, which we all know isn't good enough. But you can have these spells, it's not unique to us. For Fulham it was only a third win in 16 matches, Norwich have been the same. Lots of teams like us have had this spell just now, where we've gone a considerable amount of time without enough wins. We know that we've got to put that right.

"We started the season absolutely brilliantly and the rest of the season had been going very well until the injuries hit and once the injuries hit, it devastated the team at the time and we've now suffered in terms of results."

The biggest boost for you must be Andy Carroll, is he ready to play a full game against Swansea?

SA: "I wouldn't say Andy's ready to play a full game, but he's ready to play some part of the game. Because he hasn't played a competitive game, apart from the 15 minutes he got at Fulham, after eight or nine weeks out. Having a fit squad is the main objective of everyone at the football club at the moment. Because that is our major concern and has been our over the last four to six weeks. Particularly defensively and even at the moment, we've got James Collins and George McCartney injured, which is why we had to bring in Emanuel Pogatetz.

How do you approach Saturday's game?

SA: "I have to say our home performances, nearly all season, have been nothing other than very, very good. Results haven't followed some of the games. We've got to continue with that form and that will give us an opportunity to win. We have to be aware of how good Swansea are out of possession. They're going to be looking to play on the break against us and if anything a foreign coach is probably better at planning his strategy playing on the break than perhaps we are. We have to be aware of that and not get caught by the spaces that we leave behind when trying to break that very solid defence down.