Special day for Sheringham

Teddy Sheringham looks forward to Sunday's visit of his former club Manchester United
Sunday's Barclays Premier League visit of Manchester United will be special for Teddy Sheringham.

The West Ham United attacking coach spent four seasons at Old Trafford as a player between 1997 and 2001, winning three Premier League titles, the FA Cup and scoring in the Red Devils' 1999 UEFA Champions League final victory over Bayern Munich.

Sheringham sat down with West Ham TV to discuss his time at Manchester United, his thoughts on their current form and to assess Sunday's showdown.

Teddy, Manchester United is always one of the biggest fixtures on the calendar and this season is no different?

TS: "Always. I think for any club that's in the Premier League, it's the first game they look at because it's when the big crowds come."

Sunday's game will be interesting, as West Ham are seeking to regain their best form, while Manchester United seem to be winning every game they play…

"I think from the outside looking in, I don't think Manchester United have been fantastic this year, but they've ground out nice results, especially recently, getting wins when other teams might only get a draw. That's the sign of a good team, because when they do click everyone could be in trouble."

Looking at Manchester United's front six, it is arguably the best front six in the Premier League, but it hasn't quite come together yet. Would you agree?

"Yes, exactly. I don't think it always works out like that when you have so many strikers all vying for the same positions, but it looks like it is working out at the moment. I think when the big games come around for them against the top two or three in the division, that's when you'll be able to tell if you have a well-rounded team or if it's just top-heavy."

There is a weight of expectation at every club, but at Manchester United the expectation is that you will challenge for the title every season. So, has there been a change in mind-set up there, or are they still expecting the same level of success?

"I still remember the first words Sir Alex Ferguson said to me when I joined Manchester United and they were 'You won't believe what it is like to play for Manchester United and how many people want to beat you' and I still see it as being the same.

"Perhaps the expectations in and around the club aren't quite so high because of last season, when they finished seventh, and their aim is to get back into the Champions League. It's not quite as high as looking at winning the title, but when you have top players in the club, they are used to winning things and they want to get back to the top as soon as possible."
They're winning games so they'll be confident coming to Upton Park and expect to win again, but we're a formidable team with big firepower, so I expect goals and, sorry Manchester United fans, but I expect us to edge it by one!
You spent four great seasons at Manchester United. Can you sum up what it meant to you to play for them?

"For me, it is still the biggest club in the world, up there Barcelona and Real Madrid as the biggest club in the world. Wherever we went there were thousands of people who wanted to see Manchester United players and I think that still remains the same. When you go through a winning period like they did under Sir Alex, that grows even more so with the more you win.

"It was great to play for them and it was a real eye-opener. When you played at teams like Leicester, Middlesbrough or Nottingham Forest, you went to their ground and they were absolutely delighted with a goalless draw, and that doesn't happen with any other club.

"With Manchester United, for any team to take points of you meant a huge amount to them up and down the country. Until you have played in that, you don't realise how much pressure is on you to win every game."

So how do you create that environment? How do you change the mind-set at a club like West Ham to one where you go into every game with the expectation that you will win it?

"We've got a steady team here. We're down to the bare bones a bit at the moment, but when we have our first team out there it's a formidable team. I think the lads can look around inside the dressing room and think 'I don't mind playing against Manchester United or Liverpool with you alongside me'. The more you look around at the players in your team and think 'We've got a chance of doing well here' that's fantastic, and the expectancy levels have risen.

"We brought in a few good players at the start of the season and they've hit the ground running, they've done very well and they've gelled in with the rest of the team. That makes it fantastic for West Ham fans, who expect us to win, especially at home."

How does that change in confidence manifest itself in the way you play?

"It definitely puts pressure on you. It's fantastic to know that you all expect to win and are going for a win. When you're going forward in the last five minutes, you put a cross in and instead of having one person in the middle, you have three or four in the box and a fifth arriving. You have a better chance of scoring and that was the difference playing for Manchester United - with five or two minutes to go, you knew you'd be pushing everybody forward to try and get that winning goal.

"If we didn't get it, everyone got back in position to ensure we'd get another chance after that. It was truly fantastic to play with all those top players and all be on the same wavelength."

So, looking forward to Sunday's game, West Ham are more confident on home turf and Manchester United are winning virtually every game - should we expect a classic or a cagey affair?

"I would expect goals. Both teams have got good firepower. Manchester United's defensive difficulties have been speculated about a lot this year and they've found players to come in. They're winning games so they'll be confident coming to Upton Park and expect to win again, but we're a formidable team with big firepower, so I expect goals and, sorry Manchester United fans, but I expect us to edge it by one!"