Big Sam on: Manchester City

Sam Allardyce faced the media on Thursday morning ahead of Saturday's game against Manchester City.

West Ham United are looking for a third straight win, but the manager is under no illusions as to the size of the task facing his team.

How have you assessed the season so far?

SA: "We've done well so far, the new players have hit the ground running, each signing has made a positive impact and obviously everyone is raving about the front two. It's good that we're getting the results our performances merit at the moment. At the moment we're very good but we have to remember we're only eight games in. When we get into the nitty gritty in November and December then we'll know what our team is really capable of."

You're up against Man City on Saturday, having lost to them four times last season, do you need to change your approach?

SA: "We've got a different team to last season. Obviously the players that are still here will remember that we didn't get anything from them. There wasn't much we could do in the Capital One semi finals due to injuries at that time.

"They're a fabulous side, but if we're going to get anything from them it's now, while we're in form. As well as them coming back from a Champions League away game. We're in good, confident form but for me it's about getting the players to their top level. We'll have to play like me did against Liverpool, probably even better. We'll have to work hard and make sure we contain their fantastic front line especially."

We've seen players struggle to integrate at different clubs for a number of years, why has it been so successful here?

SA: "I think we have a good environment. I've learnt how important that is as I've got more experienced. At Bolton we had an influx of foreign players and that taught me the importance of thinking about the family rather than just the player. The players settle quicker than the families because they come over into our environment and are accepted into our group, we have a very welcoming environment, it's very friendly and a good spirit.

"It's important we get it right with the family, that they are happy and settled in the right area. It makes it harder if they don't speak English as well as you'd like but it's all part of the process. So we give them the tools and the best chance of succeeding, than it's down to the player to concentrate and work hard. I have to say all our new players have done that fantastically well, better than we expected. Their determination and desire has been fabulous.

"I talk to every player before we sign them. I talk to them about the change of environment it's usually the last stage of the process of singing a player. There been a few instances where I've decided not to sign a player based on that final interview. It's far better finding out early if there are going to problems than when you've signed them and it's too late."

What effect does it have on the squad when you have a goalscorer like Diafra Sakho doing so well?

SA: "We've 15 goals in the first eight games, when you compare that to previous seasons it's a big improvement. Our total in year one was 46, last year our highest scorer only had seven goals so you can see the improvement. It's unlikely we'll carry it on, if we did we'd score 70 odd goals which would be fantastic, we can only hope. It'll get harder as the two strikers get paid more attention and are singled out."

You mentioned the importance of getting back to back wins, and you got that, how important is that and is their a greater hunger this year?

SA: "There's no greater hunger, just a better quality of player. With all due respect to the players we've had, they've all done a fantastic job. I think it's down to the team growing together as well as that added quality. Our desire was to find quality players at a younger age. Our average age of the new signings was just 24-and-a-half years old."

Any team news?

SA: "We've got Cheikhou and James Tomkins back and no new injuries this week. The other players that were out are making good progress so they should be back with us shortly. We've got a few out but we're getting better."

A quick word on Sergio Aguero, how good do you think he is?

SA: "After coming through some injury problems he's done well. He scored four last week and could have had five. Let's face it sometimes he's unplayable. We have to focus on limiting the service to him because he's so dangerous and can wriggle out of a tight situation."

A word on Manchester City, how difficult are they and do you expect them to challenge for the title again?

SA: "I think they've probably got the best squad in the league. Even though Chelsea have started as well as they have. For City it depends whether they have the desire and determination to win it in consecutive years. It's hugely difficult to win it once never mind back to back. It's only happened very few times but it all depends on their determination. Last year when they had an opportunity to take it, they took it. They demonstrated that they know how to do it so we'll see what happens."