Big Sam on: Everton

Big Sam faced the media ahead of Saturday's game with Everton
West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce faced the media ahead of Saturday's game with Everton. 

In what will be the Hammers' fourth encounter with the Blues this season, as well as the last home game, Big Sam fielded questions on his future, European ambitions and stopping Romelu Lukaku.  

Hello Sam, can we start with any contract news?

SA: "There isn’t any news. It was always going to be decided at the end of the season, and it will be decided then. There’s only two weeks left of speculation before we’ll all know." 

Has the uncertainty effected the players?

SA: "I don’t think so. Our lack of results has been due to missing some core players through injury. While we’ve managed to overcome the injuries to Winston Reid and James Tomkins remarkably well, our problem has been not scoring enough.

"We haven’t been able to convert our chances, we had 29 shots against Burnley and only scored once so that really highlighted our problem. Our missed chances have really cost us in the last six or seven games." 

Do you think Everton participating in the Europa League has damaged their League campaign, and if so does that put you off qualifying for it?

SA: "The backlash is that you get criticized if your league form dips. But it’s well proven how hard it is to compete in Europe and maintain your league position. It is particularly difficult for the smaller clubs who aren’t used to playing twice a week.

"The routine of Thursday and Sunday is very difficult to sustain. I had it at Bolton and we managed to finish eighth which was a great achievement. It can be managed but it is extremely difficult. 

"If we are to compete in Europe we’ll have to avoid injuries as best as possible." 

What is the target for the last two games of the season?

SA: "We want to get over the 50 point mark. We’re all hugely disappointed that we haven’t managed it yet and we should have done it by now.

"We could easily be in the mid 50s but due to a few lapses in concentration we’re not quite there. Hopefully on Saturday the boys will go out and put the chances that we will create away. We want to win our last home game and try and to enjoy the game.

"We’ve been able to enjoy the majority of the season. We haven’t brushed with relegation this season at all, not for a minute. We’ve scored more goals and got more points." 

Do you yourself want to be here next season?

SA: "It depends on the contract. There’s a lot of areas to negotiate, not just my contract but the staff, new players and the budget. As well as that it’s about the direction we think we’re going in.

"We’re going in the right direction it’s a question of how fast we want to do it in. So all that need to be discussed and agreed. After that we’ll need to move quickly, whatever the decision. Thankfully the owners have always moved quickly to secure new players which has helped to improve the squad." 

What has the player’s reaction been to the possibility of playing in Europe?

SA: "Once they get over the fact that it means coming back a bit earlier I’m sure they’ll relish it. It’s a new competition for most of our players and it gives our players who haven’t played as much as they would’ve liked an opportunity to play.

"It also gives a new opportunity for our younger players coming through. It would be a very long season, starting on 2 July and we’ll finish two weeks later than normal. It’ll be an extremely difficult challenge but one we’ll be happy to take on." 

What do you make of Everton, you’ve played them three times already this season?

SA: "We’ve had three excellent game with them, very even games mainly and hard fought. Our game in the FA Cup replay was a superb game, I thought we were excellent and obviously delighted to win. It was a very exciting finish with the game going to penalties and the goalkeepers having to take them too. 

"We have to make sure we stop Romelu Lukaku because he always scores against us, that’s something we have to do. He scores every time we play them." 

Are the owners behind getting into Europe?

SA: "Yes, very much so. We have to be realistic and take the opportunity when it comes. While it may be seen as an easy way to get in, Europe is Europe and it’ll be a fantastic experience should be qualify."