We obviously have a couple of injuries and I don’t think Mick [Antonio] is going to be able to make this game, but I think apart from that we are not too bad.
You are four points adrift of Leicester City, just how important is this game?
No more important than winning at Wolves the other night, but it is the next game and the next game is always the most important so we will treat it the same way. We will try and approach it in the same manner and hopefully we will come out with the same result.
What do you think the main threats from Leicester are?
Have we got enough time to talk about Leicester’s main threats? They are an incredibly good side, they are doing really well this season and have done for a while now. They are in the semi-final of the FA Cup, so we are up against a top team and a team who have been competing towards the top end of the league for quite a few seasons now.
Obviously, Jesse Lingard is in great form at the moment how confident are you that you can hold onto him next season?
I don’t know, we have not spoken about it. We are enjoying having him, he has been great around the place, we really enjoy having him and I think he is enjoying his time as well but we have not considered anything more at this present time.
Racism in football – some teams are having a social media boycott what do you think of that and is that something perhaps West Ham will do in the future?
It is something the club just will not tolerate at all, there is a zero tolerance here we just won’t have it. The club will make the decision regarding social media, but I think it is really important to make a stand and everybody realises that racism is not for anybody and it can’t be in this society.
Can you give us some more information on Declan Rice and how long you expect him to be out for?
No, I won’t give you any more information to be honest! I’ll just say that he has an injury as everybody is aware and we will try and get him back as quickly as we can. But we don’t want to put any timescale on it. Obviously, he is an important player but we move on and we have other players who can come in and help us.
Against Wolves you managed to hang on but how concerned are you that in the last two games you have seen the opposition get back into the games when your side had a 3-0 lead.
Yeah, I am really concerned about that. I want us to score five or six goals instead of three, but it is something we have to consider. But we have an attacking team at the moment and they are trying to keep scoring goals. We know what is at stake but if the players keep winning 3-2 then why would I tell them to do anything different.
You have the joint second-best home record in the league. How close is the London Stadium to being a fortress?
It won’t become a fortress until we have got all the supporters back in. I think when we get the West Ham fans back in and they see the way the team is playing with the commitment and the energy the players provide then hopefully it will become even harder to come here and get results. We know it has not pleased everybody but we will do our best to make it more enjoyable with the team winning if we can.
What are your thought on the job Brendan Rodgers has done?
I think the way they have gone about their business and worked has been very good. Brendan has done a great job, they are competitive they challenge the top teams at the moment, and have certainly broken into the top six and that is a difficult thing to do. They won the Premier League not long ago so they deserve to be in amongst that group but what they have done is shown it was not a one-off, they have built on it and they continue to build on it. They are having a very good season this year, so it is a tough game but we went there and beat them so let’s see if we can do that again.
Nobody has done better against Leicester than your 3-0 win this season is that pleasing in terms of what you know you can achieve?
I hope we can do it again, it shows the level of our players that we can do that and there are not many teams that have gone and given Leicester as tough a game as we did that day and I hope we can show that again. I actually believe Leicester have improved since that period but I also think we have improved since then as well. Hopefully, we can try and give them a really good game, we played well up there and I am hoping for a bit more of the same.
If Mark Noble plays it will be his 400th Premier League appearance that is some achievement isn’t it?
It is great, to be at one club and play 400 Premier League games is some doing. When you look at how many years you have to be there and the consistency you have got to have, and injuries as well play a part in players’ careers. It is a great achievement and he has reached an awful lot of milestones at West Ham because of his loyalty and his consistency as a player and we are enjoying him at the moment. He is a really good captain for us and he played well the other night.
Do you think he could potentially become a part of West Ham’s coaching staff and how pleased are you with your coaching staff?
I have an excellent staff. If you talk about the Leicester game Alan [Irvine], [Stuart] Pearcey, Kevin [Nolan], and Paul [Nevin] were all part of it who went up and got the result when I had the virus and the game against Wolves as well, so the staff have done a brilliant job when called on and they continue to do a good job. I need them in different areas of the club so I could not give them, enough praise for the way they have worked and helped me. I do see Mark [Noble] becoming part of the staff in the future but while he is still playing well and contributing on that side of it we want him in that area. But I have no doubt Mark’s future career will be somewhere at West Ham, what that exactly is I don’t know but I have no doubt he will be in and around the club.
Do you think you will kick yourself at the end of the season if you do not finish in the top four and Michail Antonio misses a large portion of the games when you did not get a striker in January?
No, I chose to bring in Jesse Lingard instead.
Are Leicester now the yardstick for a club like West Ham who are knocking on the door of the top four?
I do think Leicester are a model for a lot of clubs. Their recruitment has been really good, there is a stability at the club, we hear quite often about overseas owners going in but I have to say their owners have been a great credit to the way they have gone about their work at the club. I don’t know the club that well and I can only see it from a distance but they won the league a few years ago they are continuing to compete, they are looking to bring in young players for the future, which obviously compliments the very experienced players they have got at the club already. But where their time comes to move on I think they are building already another team underneath that as well. They have done great Leicester and I think Brendan has done very well the two or three years he has been at Leicester.
Is Mark Noble one of the more underrated long servants of the Premier League area, compared to John Terry, Jamie Carragher, Steven Gerrard?
I don’t think there is anybody who would question, certainly not in our business, who would ever question how great a career Mark Noble has had. The loyalty, the number of games he has played, the years he has been at the club. I think he might not be mentioned in that group you mentioned because they have won European Cups and Premier League titles but you cannot question Mark Noble’s loyalty, his consistency, and his longevity which is a big thing in football, especially at one club. I think he should be mentioned in and around those names but probably from a different perspective.
How can the social media problem be solved?
Well, I am probably not the one to answer the question as I do not use social media, but what I do know is that football players have done incredible things through the pandemic via social media. The amount of charities they helped, the food banks they donated to so I have to say there are some good things through social media as well but I don’t think that anybody should take any abuse. I don’t see a reason why you should be put in that position. At the club we won’t have any of it, we will deal with it very swiftly if anything like that happens, as I said I am not an expert to talk about it but I can’t see any reason why that should be allowed.
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