West Ham manager: Europe will not endanger our Premier League survival
PUBLISHED: 07:55 16 May 2015
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Hammers boss Sam Allardyce insists nothing will get in the way of Premier League survival
West Ham boss Sam Allardyce insists that he will not take any risks with the club’s Premier League status if they were to qualify for Europe via the Fair Play League.
The Hammers are favourites to claim the extra qualifying place if they hold off the challenge of today’s opponents Everton, but that would mean a start to the new season on July 2 and the possibility of six qualifying games.
So many games may have an effect in the Premier League, but the manager was quick to confirm the priorities.
“I won’t take any risks to our Premier League status,” he said. “I will take the criticism about not putting out a strong team for the FA Cup, the Capital One Cup and the Europa League.
“I will not put our Premier League status at risk at any stage, whether that is the beginning, middle or the end of the season.
“Staying in the Premier League is more important for this football club, more than any other club in the League, before we go into the Olympic Stadium.”
There will be a host of logistical difficulties to cope with. What sort of team do the Hammers play? What about the players that are likely to leave at the end of the season? Do you give them temporary contracts, or rely on the youngsters?
“We just have to wait and see and if we get there, if we do, it is a bit of a disruption, but you have to go for it,” said Allardyce. “It certainly takes care of pre-season because you have six competitive games, but if we went out in the first round, you have to change your plans again.
“The backlash is you will be criticised if you don’t do well in the Premier League. It affects the small teams far greater than the bigger teams who plan to be in it every year.”
So is it worth risking your Premier League survival by embarking on a European campaign? The manager thinks so and says the board are keen to go for it as well.
“It is about the experience of playing in Europe,” he said. “Lots of people say there is no point in playing in that competition because there is no money in it and that is what our game has become.
“But when you are a footballer it is about playing in Europe and pitting your skills against them.”
So can West Ham battle successfully on four fronts next season when you consider the FA and League Cup as well?
“When I was there with Bolton, we managed to cope admirably,” he said. “We not only got into the last 32 in Europe, we were also eighth in the Premier League, so it can be managed.
“But it is extremely difficult winning that game on a Sunday after an away trip in Europe.”
The last time West Ham qualified for Europe was back in 2006 when they made it into the Uefa Cup courtesy of being runners-up in the FA Cup.
However, that turned into something of a disaster as the Hammers were beaten 4-0 on aggregate against Italian side Palermo in the opening round and later that season, Alan Pardew was sacked from his managerial role.