Big Sam on: Fulham

Ahead of Saturday's Barclays Premier League clash against Fulham at the Boleyn Ground, West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce has addressed the media at his pre-match press conference.

Big Sam spoke about the latest team news, the weekend's opponents and the latest on frontman Andy Carroll.

Morning Sam, what's the latest team news ahead of Saturday?

SA: "We have no further injuries, gladly, from last week. Everybody else is okay and we're just getting ready for these next two big games but certainly this first one against Fulham. Neither me nor Martin Jol would have expected to be where we are at this stage of the season but like I said the league table tells a story. Performances are okay for a while but it's always about results and at the moment, in general our performances have been excellent but our results haven't matched that. We've got to try and get a massive victory here on Saturday."

It's always said that the league table doesn't lie but is it telling a few porkies at the moment?

SA: "Well I think it's all about us not capitalising on our good play and not scoring the goals that we've needed to secure three points in the Barclays Premier League. Three points are precious, it's what you're always searching for and it's what always makes the difference. You can run for a little while with a certain amount of draws because you're always picking a point up but in the end you must start winning some games.

"My surprise is that after our victory against Tottenham I thought it would have kicked us on to a very good run of results with the performance we showed in that game but it hasn't happened. We've got to continue to believe that we will turn our chances into goals and we've got to start that on Saturday. We've got to start performing in front of goal and putting the ball in the back of the net when we get the opportunity. We didn't get so many against Chelsea but that would be expected against a higher quality team.

"Against Fulham both teams are having a struggle at the minute. We hope that we continue our defensive solidarity and then try and score a few goals against Fulham who've conceded quite a few goals in the last four games, I think they've conceded 11 in the last four, so I have to say I think there's a weakness there and hopefully we can try and exploit it."

From within the clubs, both at Fulham and here at West Ham, you don't get a sense that either you or Martin Jol are under any great degree of pressure, is that how it feels?

SA: "The game revolves around speculation and whenever someone's not doing what they're expected to do then the pressure falls upon you. You have to handle that pressure but you have to deliver what you know works and continue to stay focussed in that area. The outside influences are always there but as a team and behind the scenes with the players you have to stay focussed and know what you have to do to win a football match. You have to try not to let it affect your confidence that we've not got the results we wanted to. Keep playing as well as you can play and eventually it comes right."

Have you heard anything at all detrimental from David Gold or Sullivan?

SA: "No, no, not at all. I think they're more focussed on what we might be able to achieve in January as well as the focus on Andy Carroll who will hopefully be back with us next week to start some training. That's been the main focus with both David's which I'm obviously pleased that we're looking in the market and we're very active. Everybody knows that David (Sullivan), particularly, is a man who moves extremely quickly when we've made a decision.

"That particular area is obviously very difficult, finding a target and securing that target which is what we found before the last window shut but failed to clinch the deal. Perhaps we're paying the penalty for that now which is not through lack of effort from ourselves and shows you how difficult it is to get somebody on the frontline. Of course we didn't expect Andy to be out still now, we expected him to be playing two or three games into the season, that hasn't happened and of course the rest of our strikers have failed to do what we need and that's score a few goals to help us get more victories instead of draws."

Is that, at last, significant news about Andy Carroll?

SA: "We hope so. It's tentative in terms of your approach to it and we have to be very careful. We can't be over anxious and push Andy, we can't do anything over than what the specialists say we do, no matter how desperate our situation may become. We have to get Andy fit so that he stays fit, not fit to a point where he may pick up another injury and that's what we've got to be careful of."

Are you hopeful of seeing him in action before the end of 2013?

SA: "I think that depends on our assessment when he does actually and eventually come back with us. When he does that then we can monitor the situation on a day-to-day basis and push forward his training on a level to how he feels. I think that having not played a game since last May it will take some time to get him into a match fitness situation. He's done an awful lot of work not only on his injury but his whole body. That's not included any football training in that so when he does eventually get to that he'll be pretty stiff for the first few days in that situation. Our backroom staff will go all out to alleviate that as quickly as possible."

We've talked about the pressure on you and Martin Jol, do you feel a different kind of pressure with the new Premier League deal and the billions of pounds floating around?

SA: "I wouldn't say a different pressure. It probably comes a bit sooner than with the last deal because the millions have gone up by £20 million or so. I think that every budget or financial situation that you talk about revolves around the massive amount of money that comes into the Club from the Barclays Premier League. You look at the revenue streams that come your way in the Championship and that's where the pressure comes from. The pressure comes from the fact that's it's everything for a club to stay in the Barclays Premier League first and foremost, irrespective of me as a manager and performances.

"The way that the money has evolved in the Barclays Premier League means that the most important thing for any club is to first and foremost stay there and then develop from there. When I say develop I mean strengthen your squad on a year-in-year-out basis. You won't have millions of pounds and if you do then it's very difficult to find players. If you do sign too many players too quickly then you can still fall foul of that. Paolo Di Canio found that out having signed 12 or 13 players in one season. My old mate, Steve Bruce, suffered the same situation when he was manager before Martin O'Neil, he failed to get the cohesion together of a team which had so many changes and found it's very difficult. It has to be a steady progress but you've got to stay in the Barclays Premier League to do that."