Any injury news ahead of Sunday?
Probably like everybody else we have probably got one or two injuries, one or two people, coming back from international duty that we will have to look after but it looks like this international break has taken its toll on a lot of people and we are no different.
Any confirmed no’s for the weekend?
Well if I did I would probably not tell you anyway but we might have some people who are not available.
After the loss to Brentford is it a case of wanting to get out there and get going again?
I think we have had a really good start, we are in the cup competitions and have done great in Europe and still in the Carabao Cup. We’re playing in the Premier League as well which we’re trying to manage for the first time with European football. So I actually think we have had a really good start. We had a disappointing last minute in the last game against Brentford but we are not going to dwell on that, that is for sure. We move on and keep it positive because the team have done so well, the players have done a great job.
Is it a really big game on Sunday with both teams looking for a top-six finish?
Well, it is one of the many big games but it is the same for Everton. Everton are a really big club and because of that, I think it is a big game. It is a tough place to go and I know as well as anybody what it is like. It is a really great atmosphere in Goodison so from that point of view it is a great game. We are looking forward to it, we are confident with the way we are playing, the style we have been playing we look as if we can score goals so hopefully, we are able to do that.
How does the Newcastle takeover affect your job does it make it a bit tougher with another big club around?
In truth I do not know enough about Newcastle to comment on it, because it is their football club, I can comment on West Ham and how we are doing and what we do but there is now another big club, it always was a big club Newcastle. They have a chance of becoming even bigger and time will tell with that but I am not an expert on Newcastle United and what they are going to do next.
You have manager 995 games after this weekend and Steve Bruce gets to manage his 1,000 on Sunday. Can you give some context on the longevity?
Well, I have to say it is great credit to Steve Bruce. The way he has conducted himself recently and not only that Newcastle finished 13th last season and did an unbelievable job when [it seemed like] everybody was wanting him out. Maybe Newcastle will be hoping to do much better in the future and I’m sure they will but you have to say with the resources he has had he has done a brilliant job in finishing 13th last year so I don’t think that should ever be forgotten. And I think Steve’s longevity in management, getting 1,000 games, [which is something] I’m looking forward to it if I can reach it. Steve is going to reach it this weekend and rightly so he has been a really good manager through different leagues, the Premier League and the Championship and has shown he has been a really good manager.
How’s Michail Antonio been performing in the break period? Is he well rested and can we expect him back firing on all cylinders this weekend?
I think he has been firing on all cylinders and I hope he is well rested and I hope that has got some good training in. He chose not to go with Jamaica in the end because he felt that some of the logistics weren’t correct, but overall he is back and I hope he can continue in the good form he has been in since the start of the season.
Tomas Soucek has such a great work ethic and some stats that came out this week showed that he was topping the charts with 80.7 kilometres covered in just seven games this season so far. Do you think he’s getting the praise he deserves considering he’s racking up those numbers?
I think Tomas gets the praise certainly from in here, we know exactly what Tomas’ worth it and exactly what he can do. We are pushing him hard to get the goals that he got last year because he was very good with his goal numbers last year. We like his work ethic, in fact, we love it and we are now saying we want him to get back, he is just missing a couple of chances or they are not quite falling for him. He is a real threat in the box as well so we are hoping he can start to get a few goals as well as his very good running stats.
Do you think it’s right to say that there is a bit of a dynamic shift this year on the pitch, particularly between him and Declan [Rice] who is coming forward much more this season?
Yeah, but if we could get the two of them to score 10 goals each that would be great and that the moment Declan is slightly in front but I think that Tomas with his aerial power will get us goals as the season goes on. Declan has different abilities, Declan has got a shooting ability and other attributes which will get him goals as well. So I’m actually hoping that we ended up with two midfielders with good goal numbers this season.
In regards to coming back from the International break how much more difficult is it when you’ve got an away game after an international break are you also a little bit miffed that I think in this section of the season all of the International breaks follow on with you being away from home.
Well, we don’t sort the fixtures out so it is not for us to do that but if we have to go away from home then so be it. I think the international break has been unfair because many clubs have not got their players to use. To be truthful it is not us but I think if the Premier League wants to stay elite and at the top then I think they have to allow all the players to come back fit. Now it is not [impacting] our club but I think it is wrong that should not be allowed to happen in the Premier League because it is starting to dwindle away what the Premier League is about if you cannot get all of your best players available. There will be injuries and suspensions, as expected but if you can’t do it because your players are on international duty and can get back in time then there is a ridiculous schedule, [and] I think the Premier League loses a bit of its value because of that.
You and Rafa [Benitez] were on opposite sides of Merseyside but was there mutual understanding some managerial camaraderie?
I have great respect for Rafa because of the level of clubs he’s managed, he did an exceptional job at Liverpool, made it really difficult for me when I was manager at Everton, was very hard to get above them. Thankfully by the end of my time at Everton we had got above them a couple of times, but he’s been a terrific manager. You don’t manage the clubs that Rafa has managed if you’re not very experienced and good at your job.
You have seven matches in three weeks across the competitions. Does that affect how you prepare, the planning that you have to do with the squad with the training with the loading? How much pre-planning do you put into this period?
Quite a lot of planning and trying to train at a good level in the last week or two, because we know the training times in minutes will be limited in the next month or so. But I’m also wary that I’ve got to make sure I use the squad as best I can and I think we’ve tried to do that in the games, whether it be in the Carabao Cup or whether it has been in the European games I think we’ve done it, as well as we can. But you only need to start to get one or two injuries and it can affect your numbers so from that point of view, you’ve got to really be mindful, but this is what we wanted. We knew there will always be times when it gets busy and difficult, so I hope we will manage it as well as we can and keep playing as well as we have been.
You called Everton the people’s club what would you say West Ham are?
I think it’s certainly a club which is so strong in a certain part of London, certainly the east end of London is a big West Ham [area] it is a great community club. The West Ham name is around this part of the city and where I live and where a lot of the players live, so from that point of view, it’s a huge club. There is still room for improvement in lots of parts of the club, and I think we’re trying to do that. We’re trying to move on first and foremost, can I [do it?] because my job is to make sure that on the football pitch we get better. That’s my job. Then the club has to take responsibility for making it better as well, what goes on off the pitch and how we continue to build the club. West ham does not need building by David Moyes, West ham was built long long ago but I have now got the reigns and it is now my job to try and grow it a little bit and make it better than it was and I think we have done that over the last couple of years we have started to grow it and done a lot of good things.
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