Allardyce eyes Spurs scalp again
Published 15/08/2014 | 16:56
Sam Allardyce is eager to extend West Ham's recent dominant record against Tottenham on Saturday.
Last season saw the Hammers flirt with relegation, enduring a chronic injury list, and manager Allardyce's future was questioned, but three victories over Tottenham punctuated the campaign with memorable moments.
A 3-0 Barclays Premier League win at White Hart Lane, their first at Tottenham in 14 years, was followed up with a 2-1 Capital One Cup quarter-final success in Tim Sherwood's first game as head coach of the north London club.
The Hammers then completed a hat-trick of victories with a 2-0 win towards the end of the season, and Allardyce will channel the memory of those games when Mauricio Pochettino's arrive at Upton Park for their season opener.
"It was fantastic for us to beat our old rivals three times last year," he said.
"But they are a top side and we'll have to hit the ground running. We'll have to hit top form from the first minute to the last.
"It's a very exciting fixture for the players, the fans and everybody else surrounding West Ham. A big local derby to start the season off and hopefully we can reproduce the performance that we did for the last game at home last year.
"Every game is important, whether it's the first or the last. If it goes as well as the last one did I'll be very, very happy on Saturday.
"It is a new season, they have a new manager. He'll assess the players he's got: he's brought some new players in, we've got some new players in, so it's a completely different scenario."
Tottenham manager Pochettino hopes his team will quickly show their style on the pitch this season to stop his "boring" talk of a change in football philosophy.
The former Argentina international took over at White Hart Lane earlier this summer on the back of an impressive spell in charge at Southampton, which saw them break into the Barclays Premier League's top 10.
Pochettino takes his squad - which has been improved by the signings of goalkeeper Michel Vorm and defenders Ben Davies and Eric Dier - to West Ham on Saturday, before a Europa League play-off away to AEL Limassol.
The Spurs boss accepts it may not be a case of seeing immediate results following a change of direction in the dugout, but is confident the group are willing to take everything on board as they target a return to the top four.
"We have to impress our style and philosophy. That sounds boring, maybe, but it is true," Pochettino said.
"This is the most important thing - to create something, to believe - and is the key for the way to success.
"This is only the beginning of the season, so we need to improve and put in practice the new philosophy and style.
"The players need time, it is true, to improve, to believe and to learn. Then after we will see."
Pochettino, however, understands all too well that patience is not much of a virtue in the English top flight, with Sherwood dismissed earlier in the summer having himself taken over following the unceremonious departure of Andre Villas-Boas last December.
"It is important to have a good start, to win the three points," he said. "There will then be that feeling in the belief of your ideas, that the group is more strong.
"We have a very good mentality to play at West Ham, and we are expecting a very tough game.
"It is an important thing to get the three points to start in a good way."
West Ham beat Spurs three times last term, but Pochettino will not read too much into those results.
"This is my first season at Tottenham," he said. "The past is the past.
"Of course we need to learn from the past, but anything which happened was last season."