Big Sam on: Sunderland

West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce has spoken to the broadcast media ahead of Monday's Barclays Premier League trip to Sunderland.

The Hammers boss was asked for his thoughts on an important game at the Stadium of Light, Wednesday's win over Hull City, the reaction of some to that game.

Big Sam also revealed that James Collins will miss Monday's game with a calf injury, but Winston Reid and Matt Jarvis will be available to travel to the North East.

Sam, a few days on, what are your thoughts about Wednesday's win over Hull and the reaction of some?

SA: "I think, like everything else, it's a small minority but small minorities are good at voicing their opinion, we all know that. It was all borne out of frustration because they expected us to win more comfortably than we did.

"In the cold light of day, everyone realised how important that win was and everybody has got to realise what we have done in the last eight games - we've got 15 points in those eight games and that is about a top-six finish in the Premier League, or at least a top-eight. So, our form has never been as good and our results have never been as good. Overcoming three consecutive losses with a victory was very important.

"The frustration was understandable because when people see you are playing against ten men, they think it's easier. We know as professionals that it's not that easy and that proved to be the case. The most important thing was to win the game, acquire the three points and try to push on from here.

"As I said, we've never achieved 15 points from eight games since we've been back in the Premier League, so we should all feel a little bit happier and I'm sure everyone who vented their frustration on Wednesday is happier that we're now nearer safety and looking forward to the Liverpool game at home.

"The fans who travel to Sunderland will get behind the team as they always do."

Has your relationship with the fans been harmed irrevocably by what happened Wednesday night?

SA: "Not for me, no. At the end of the day, there is good, bad and indifferent today and you have to accept that your position is one where you will be criticised, praised off and on depending the mood, the results and where you are and what the expectation is.

"You have to stick to your point of view and stay professional, keep your thick skin on and move on. My job is all about doing the best I possibly can for West Ham as a team and for the players, which then reflects on everybody else who works at West Ham and everybody who supports West Ham."

What would you say to those who say the fans deserve better?

SA: "Sometimes you don't get what you might expect. There are occasions where Manchester City, Liverpool or Chelsea don't play very well and that's the case. It's no different for us as it is for them.

"Fans expect better from a particular game and if you don't deliver then they vent their frustration because they are wound up like everybody else in the emotion of the game. That's why it's so important to have your fans back your players. I'm protecting my players here, rather than myself.

"Being criticised or praised is part of my job, but if you affect the players on the field, it puts them off their game. That's why I said it. I'm trying to say that the atmosphere is critical to the players' performance and they lost a lot of their composure the other night after hearing the criticism that was coming their way. That made life difficult for them.

"You could arguably say they get paid a lot of money and that they should be able to handle it, but I could put you all [the journalists] in that situation and you wouldn't handle it. It's a given fact that certain amounts of pressure are good for players and other types of pressure can make them not perform to their best. I think that was a little bit of the case on Wednesday night.

"It was one isolated game in a long season, but a game during our best run of results in our time back in the Premier League. We have to forget what happened on Wednesday night, because we got the three points, and we look forward to Sunderland."

You go to Sunderland on Monday on 34 points. How many more do you need to be safe?

SA: "I would only say that we're in single figures of games left and now wins become massive, because the games are running out. When it gets to this stage, if you have got the points, it's critical because it becomes even more difficult to achieve them now."

If West Ham win on Monday, can you start to plan for next season in the Premier League?

SA: "Yes, but let's go and try to win the game because Sunderland have a desperate need to win three points. It's going to be hugely difficult, as it always is, but it will be more difficult because they will take some comfort out of the performance they gave at Liverpool.

"They will think this is a great chance to get to safety by getting three points against us, who have not picked up much away from home. We've got to keep the Mackems quiet on Monday!"

What are your thoughts about Sunderland?

SA: "In the position they are in now, the games are running out. They have games in hand due to their fantastic run to the League Cup final and when you are catching those games up at this stage of the season, it is difficult and puts that added bit of pressure on them.

"Everybody goes around saying 'If you win this game or that game you are going to be safe' but points in the bag are more important than games in hand at this stage of the season. I think it puts a little extra pressure on them, knowing they need to win those games to get out of the bottom three and out of trouble. That may tell in the end.

"Gus Poyet has done a fantastic job since he's been there and the effort from their players and him have been great in terms of trying to get out of the position he started from. It just goes to show how difficult it is to get out of that situation after a bad start.

"Their team has changed around and played in a different way and has had some very good results, but recently they have probably played well enough but haven't finished the opposition off when they've had the chance.

"Their lack of goals has been a problem as we've found this season. If you don't take your chances and score, you can end up losing when you don't deserve to. It makes all the difference."

What team news do you have?

SA: "James Collins doesn't have a chance as he's pulled a calf muscle. James Tomkins got a bad knock which we're looking at and we'll wait until Sunday, but we think he's going to be OK.

"Roger Johnson got a big lump under his eye and we were worried that he might have slightly fractured the bone, but he hasn't.

"We should have Winston Reid back from illness and Matt Jarvis will be back with us as well after a slight thigh injury, so the squad is looking OK and there are plenty of players available for selection."