How concerning is the return to Covid-19 restrictions, how ominous is it? Does it feel like a step backwards?
The journalist had only just returned to the training ground and it was good to see them all because it had been a long time since they had been here in person so it’s disappointing that it’s not going so well but obviously people’s health, the country’s health is the most important thing. infoguide
When you see the situation at Spurs is there a kind of inevitability that that’s going to happen at other clubs?How concerning is it as a manager because it must be a manager’s worst nightmare, something like that happening?
In can happen in any office in the country as well, because it’s not just football clubs, I’m sure. It can be in any walk of life but I can only tell you here we are doing everything we possibly can, we are wearing masks when we’re indoors. we are washing our hands, we are sending messages to the players regularly about what to do, so we are trying to do everything.
But Covid doesn’t pick and choose and if we get it then we just have to try and find a way of getting rid of it quickly. I said it last night and I really do, I wish all the Tottenham players and staff well and that they get over it quickly as it is not something anybody wants because it is affecting the game we work in and we are getting games called off, it is the first question when there is a weekend of football so I think we would all really like it to go away but it is not so we have to deal with it the best we can.
As you say it doesn’t pick and choose and there’s an attitude that this is really disruptive for Spurs because they’re going to have fixture congestion down the line. But although they’re young, healthy athletes, all these guys it could have an effect on their health as well. This is a serious virus we’re talking about.
Yes, and I am not an expert on this I think this is something you need to as the Health Secretary but my understanding is that it is not picking and choosing and young people can become really unwell with it and certainly as we know there have been a lot of deaths for older people because of it.
People have their own choices whether they choose to be vaccinated but the amount of people who’ve taken the uptake I think is incredible that we’ve got so many people vaccinated. It’s really just disappointing that we are back in a situation where a lot of the vaccinated people need to suffer as well because of the new variant we’ve got.
How much has the belief at West Ham transformed over the last season?
Well, it is certainly something that we felt had to happen for us to be competitive and get better. I think last year the player’s attitude throughout the season was unbelievable and team spirit, mentality all the things which you need to be successful come with winning. Winning breeds it and makes it better and we have a really good mentality at the club at the moment and that is something we have to keep going.
We had a really good result against Chelsea, but prior to that we had a couple of results that were not so good so we have to make sure that we are on it all the time. We are a newish team trying to find ways of winning and keep the levels of consistency up every week so it is a challenge for us but I have to say the players have done a great job.
As you said there’s no substitute for actually going and winning the games is there. I mean, you can stand in front of them and shout and tell them they’re great, but when until they actually cross the line and go and beat these teams. That’s when they know that we can stand toe to toe with anybody .
Well, that’s the attitude we have got at the moment. We have an attitude that we are going to challenge whoever is in front of us, that might not always be successful but we are really positive in our approach, we want to score goals if we can. So all round we are determined to try and keep it going, I don’t see any way in which we are flinching from it and if we can get that level of consistency and keep the whole thing moving along and keep growing from it then hopefully we’ll keep picking up wins.
How it was a great night for West Ham and the Academy graduates, how important was it to give them this opportunity?
It’s always important if you can give players opportunities but you have to earn it and I have to say the young players have started the season really, really well with the Under-23s. We had the chance to play them, if we hadn’t won the games we would have had to go with a much stronger team. But they’ve all heard from me that I wasn’t happy we didn’t win the game and we didn’t compete, but now it’s up to them to grasp the opportunity and move to the next level.
Do your aims remain to push the club even further?
I said at the start of the season is there any chance we could get two more points than last year, because that would have caught Chelsea in a Champions League position. It doesn’t mean we are going to get there. That’s the challenge for us, to get another strong season. I was always worried that after last season you can sometimes have a bit of a dip, but I think we’ve done the opposite and got better. We have improved and gone again. We have got to keep those standards up. In recent weeks we have been playing a lot better than we have played. Overall, the players are still producing at a high level. I want that to continue right through the season.
Coming off the win against Chelsea do West Ham now head into every game with nothing to fear?
I think we always go into every game considering the opposition. We have got an incredibly tough game at Burnley, they are renowned for how they play, Sean Dyche has done a good a job as any manager in the Premier League over ten years with what he has got available to him. We have to consider the opposition, but do we go to Burnley with fear? No, we don’t. But we are going with a real feeling of confidence that we can perform and cause other teams problems as well.
What have you made of Burnley’s season so far?
Like everybody we expect Burnley to find a way out of the bottom three, which Sean does most seasons. They will be find it a bit tougher, the Premier League has got stronger this season, that is my feeling. But Sean is a real fighter, his teams are brilliant at how they stay in games and make it difficult for you, they go to away games and they are very hard to beat. Turf Moor is never an easy place to go and get a result, we played well there last year so I am hoping we can do the same this season.
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Is Sean Dyche underrated?
I think Sean has done a brilliant job and because he has had not had great resources, let’s be fair, he has not had the money some of the other clubs have had, he has had to pick up players from lower leagues that probably take a little bit of time to see if he can turn them into Premier League players, mould them into how he wants to play. If football was played only one way by every team it would be the most boring sport. The reason it is the most exciting sport is because the unpredictability, the different styles, three at the back, four at the back. Every week you get different set ups so that is why I think having different styles in the Premier League is what you want. If it was the same people would soon turn off.Dollar to Naira Today
You talk about how impressed you are with the attitude of your players. Is part of that down to the fact that this year this season, they’ve had to deal with a bit more expectation because of what you achieved last year?
I think raising managing expectations is part of the manager’s job because it probably means you are doing well with the team. When you raise then you start saying, ‘Hang on a minute, this is expecting a lot of a team that is relatively new’. I think our rapid climb to the higher reaches of the Premier League is something that has been unbelievable, it has been a great achievement and not only that but to keep it going. We have only been doing this for a year and half, we were in the relegation zone a year and a half ago. So we are at the early stages of being a side who has got big expectations but I am quite happy that we have got big expectations and I hope we are able to keep it up. Maybe we can, maybe we can’t.
Does the way you have coped with injuries reflect on the squad ethos?
That’s what happens in football, everybody who has been in football has had to wait for an injury or to get an opportunity to get into the team. When you get that then it is up to you to take it. I try not to talk about the injured players, I want to concentrate on those that can play and how they are doing and make sure we give the boys the confidence and then it is up to them to do well.
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