West Ham boss: Players must look at themselves in the mirror
PUBLISHED: 08:00 01 May 2015
Hammers manager Sam Allardyce is calling on his team to find their form, starting against Burnley
West Ham boss Sam Allardyce is calling on his players to look in the mirror, admit that they are not doing well and do something about it.
The Hammers have won just two out of 16 games going into their clash with rock bottom Burnley tomorrow (Saturday) and the manager knows that the home fans are getting restless as they plummet down the Premier League table.
“For me, the focus is ‘are you happy with the way you are playing? And if you aren’t then do something about it’,” said the manager at his pre-match press conference.
“Look at yourself in the mirror in the morning because you can’t kid that person. Deep down inside you know you are not playing, so just say ‘I have to produce wins with performances and entertainment value’ which is what we had been doing all season.”
With four games to go, the manager feels that they could get 12 points to thrust them back up the league, where he thinks they belong.
“The true fact of the matter is we should have already nailed ninth place or better by a long way,” he insisted. “We want to finish higher than 10th, but the more and more we don’t pick up three points the more the season ebbs away to a disappointment.
“I keep saying to the players, let’s not be a disappointment at the end of the season, because that is not good enough.
“We need to try and win every game. Four games to go we are still trying to reach the 50-point mark and finish higher than 10th if we can. Games like Burnley at home, Aston Villa away, Everton at home and Newcastle away, if we reach our top form and be more ruthless we can beat them.”
With Winston Reid and James Tomkins still injured, Reece Burke is set to keep his place in the starting line-up and Allardyce will consider a recall for Carlton Cole to bolster the attack and Alex Song in midfield against a Burnley side fighting for their lives.
“When everyone comes to West Ham on Saturday, they will expect us to win when we are playing a side at the bottom of the league,” said the boss.
“We have to make sure we deliver that result, not just for the fans, but for ourselves as well.
“We have two more home games to play and winning at home is great because it sends 32,000 fans home happy, but we also have to try and win an away match because we haven’t done that this year.”
West Ham may not have too much to play for tomorrow, but Burnley certainly do.
They are five points from safety with four games left and so this match becomes simply a must-win game for them.
Their other remaining fixtures are at Hull City and Aston Villa as well as a home game with Stoke City, but their hopes in those are surely only dependant on them getting the three points on Saturday or they will be too far behind.
Last time they came to Upton Park they grabbed all three points with a 2-1 win after Kevin Nolan had put the Hammers in front, so there is hope.
However, their two previous trips saw them concede five goals, though with just Enner Valencia likely to be up front for the hosts, that looks like a remote possibility.
Earlier in the season, West Ham put in a fine second-half performance with goals from Diafra Sakho, Valencia and Carlton Cole for a 3-1 win at Turf Moor and they need something similar to appease the fans on Saturday.
Some people are suggesting that the players’ poor run of form may have an effect on Allardyce’s future at the club, but the boss seemed unflustered by that.
“I think the players should think about not letting themselves down rather than me,” he said. “We have four games to go and what my future will be, will be decided when we sit down at West Ham and talk.
“I always look forward to the end of the season and getting into the sun and relaxing, but I want us to do our best in the last four games so that it feels a bit better than it does at the minute.”
Some West Ham fans are thinking that too, others just can’t wait for the season to be over.