Soccer

Thursday 24 July 2014

Sullivan defends Sheringham role

Published 18/06/2014|12:32

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Former England striker Teddy Sheringham has returned to West Ham as an attacking coach

West Ham co-chairman David Sullivan insists Teddy Sheringham's arrival as attacking coach does not undermine the position of manager Sam Allardyce - but admits the club must target a top-six finish.

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The Irons' board backed Allardyce following showdown talks in the summer sparked by a campaign which ended in 13th place, but only after a late pull clear of the relegation scrap.

Sullivan believes 48-year-old former England international Sheringham, who enjoyed a three-season spell as a player at Upton Park, can bring a cutting edge to the team and work well alongside the manager, who sustained a third campaign in the Barclays Premier League following promotion via the 2012 play-off final.

"Yes, we suggested the idea, but Sam liked it. We didn't undermine him at all," Sullivan said in the Daily Mirror.

"We had a lot of people approach us to become our attacking coach and Sam picked the one he wanted.

"I think he has analysed the performance of the team last year and agreed that we would like to score more goals. It was a weakness of the team and he has brought in an expert to try and improve that.

"Teddy has played at the highest level. If you combine his game intelligence with the level he has played at, I do not believe that he won't improve our attacking ideas, whether it is the way we take our corners, our free-kicks, or just our overall strategy.

"I believe we will be a better team for having him as part of our management set-up."

Sullivan, however, knows there must be an upward focus as the east London club push towards the planned move to the Olympic Stadium in 2016.

"You can't just look to stay up," he added.

"Our supporters are realistic, they know it is a huge and difficult task to break into the top six, but we must be aiming for that, even if we don't achieve it."

West Ham are expected to announce a new player arrival on Wednesday, having been linked with Fiorentina left-back Marcos Alonso, the former Bolton defender.

Sullivan's son Jack posted on Twitter: "BIG NEW SIGNING Later today! Hear it first here! So keep looking at your phones."

The Irons will begin the new Premier League season at home to London rivals Tottenham on August 16, by which time Sullivan confirmed more additions would have followed the purchase of Argentine forward Mauro Zarate.

He said on the club's official website, www.whufc.com: "W e are aiming to have at least four more new signings in place by that game, so I am sure we will be an even tougher opponent for them than last season."

Joint-chairman David Gold also maintained lessons had been learned from West Ham's shortcomings in 2013/2014.

He added: "We have looked at what went wrong last season and we have acted upon it. With everyone fit and firing for the first game, I am confident we have got a great season to look forward to."

Press Association

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