Big Sam on: Burnley

Sam Allardyce answered questions on his future, the threat Burnley pose and targeting 50 points

West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce faced the press ahead of Saturday's game with Burnley. 

During the press conference, the Gaffer answered questions on the team's injury news, the threat Burnley pose and finishing the season positively. 

Hi Sam, do you have an injury update for us?

SA: "The injury situation stays the same for us unfortunately so we run with the same squad that was available last week. That means another start for Reece Burke, hopefully he can put in another good performance or an even better one than he did against Queens Park Rangers. We go into the game looking to get a result and a win at home." 

Burnley need the win as well, what are your thoughts ahead of that game?

SA: "They play a very similar way to QPR, with a 4-4-2 formation. Like every team you have to look for their weaknesses and exploit them.

"As has been the case with ourselves, they have been a little short on goals recently. That’s been a big problem for Sean, they’ve created a lot of chances but they haven’t finished them off. We have to make sure we take our chances while keeping an all-important clean sheet like we did last weekend.

"I don’t think it will be a tight game because Burnley know they have to come here and go for it. We have to be aware of that, stay solid and exploit the spaces they may leave." 

Is the target for the rest of the season to win every game?

SA: "Yes, certainly to try and win. We’ve got four games to go and 12 points to play for. We’re trying to get to the 50 point mark and finish higher than tenth. With the games we’ve got left, we know our top form is good enough to achieve that." 

There were reports in the week that you’ve opened early contract negotiations, is there any truth in that?

SA: "There’s no truth in that, no." 

If you don’t stay here have you considered other jobs, maybe abroad or in the Championship?

SA: "No, I’m not thinking about that at all. We’re into the last 24, 25 days of the season. After that we’ll discuss my future at West Ham United. We’ll talk things through then, nothing else interests me." 

Are you looking forward to the end of the season, one way or the other?

SA: "I always look forward to the end of the season. I look forward to getting in the sun and relaxing and reflecting on the season. We’ve had a fantastic season but we’re now in a run where we should have done a lot better and we accept that. We’re pushing to put that right and trying to getting back to winning matches." 

Have you had a chance to think a player’s targets for next season?

SA: "Yes we’ve been doing all that. We’re looking at preseason and Martin Glover, our head of recruitment is putting a list of potential players. We need to sort out what’s happening with me, then we’ll look at the situation of our current players and then any transfers." 

A number of clubs are looking at Callum Wilson at Bournemouth, are West Ham one of those clubs?

SA: "I think he’d probably be too expensive considering Bournemouth have just been promoted and they’ll want to keep him. There’s no pressure on them to sell him so it would take a big number to sign him." 

Since 2002, West Ham’s highest finish has been ninth, is that a pretty big carrot for you?

SA: "The truth is that we should have nailed that a long time ago but we haven’t. We want to finish tenth or higher. We haven’t won for a while so we need to make sure our heads don’t drop because we’re not satisfied with just being safe from relegation a long time ago." 

Burnley are at the bottom of the table but Leicester and other clubs down the years have shown it’s possible to put a run together and get out of danger…

SA: "At this stage of the season you do begin to panic if you’re down at the bottom. We’ve seen teams pull it together, Leicester at the moment, Sunderland last season. Alan Curbishley did it here a few seasons ago. It can be done, we have to guard against Burnley doing that against us on Saturday. Our fans will expect us to play well and win." 

What do you think about the job that Sean Dyche has done at Burnley?

SA: "Sean is his own man and he knows what he wants from his players. He’s sticking to his original plan because he thinks that’s the best way of doing things. Perhaps I’m a little bit more flexible in terms of adapting to the teams that we play and the threats that the opposition face." 

How important is it for you to play well in front of your fans and finish on a high?

SA: "We’ve got two home games left. Winning at home is always important because it sends the fans home happy. Winning away is fantastic, but at home, in front of 30 odd thousand is great. It makes our fans have a good weekend so we always try and do that. Since the turn of the year we haven’t won away so we want to put that right."      

Stewart Downing has said the only way to end speculation about your future is to play well. He also said the players love playing for you, are you aware of that feeling within the squad?

SA: "You’re embarrassing me now! The players just need to make sure they don’t let themselves down rather than letting me down. They know they’re much more capable than recent results. It’s come down to a few minutes of poor concentration here and there that have let us down. There have been one or two poor performances as well but not many." 

You must have seen or heard about Nigel Pearson’s press conference last night, what did you make of it? 

SA: "I can understand Nigel’s frustration because all managers are under a huge amount of pressure. To continue to work under that pressure and come through it is hard. At the end of the day, it’s an outburst, nothing more really."