Friday 07 November 2014
Sam Allardyce is surprised at the speed with which his new recruits have settled at West Ham United, and, after picking up the Barclays Manager of the Month Award for October, saying, "they've gone beyond my expectations".
West Ham lie fifth in the Barclays Premier League, level on points with Arsenal, after a strong showing in October which harvested three wins out of three against Queens Park Rangers, Burnley and champions Manchester City. It is a feat that has earned Allardyce a sixth Barclays Manager of the Month Award, with striker Diafra Sakho completing a double swoop for the Hammers by collecting the Barclays Player of the Month Award.
"They've gone beyond my expectations at this early stage of the season"
The former Bolton Wanderers, Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United manager admitted that, much as he hoped that his new signings Sakho, Enner Valencia, Alex Song, Cheikhou Kouyate, Morgan Amalfitano and Aaron Cresswell, would gel quickly, their performances have even taken him aback.
"Every new season brings a new challenge," he told premierleague.com. "Our challenge was on the recruitment side again. How quickly can you fit your new players in? How good are they? Will they live up to the expectation levels? Well, they've gone beyond my expectations at this early stage of the season.
"'I'd have expected them to have got to this level together in December or January but not all to have made such a big contribution as they have. That has made the rest of the players play even better as well. You always play better with better players. That's no disrespect to the players I've had in the last couple of years but these lads are younger with qualities better suited to the Barclays Premier League.
"I have to guide them along the way and when they play with such enthusiasm and play so well as a team it makes your job that much easier and more enjoyable."
One of the reasons West Ham have beaten Man City and Liverpool this season has been the form of Sakho, who in his first season in England, has equalled Mickey Quinn's 22-year Barclays Premier League record of six goals in his first six starts.
"It's been a surprise for everybody, even himself, even though he probably wouldn't admit it," Allardyce said. "He's fit – he missed last week's game – he'll come back into the side against Aston Villa on Saturday and hopefully continue where he left off for a week and score."
"It's too early to change the goal that we set"
West Ham may be flying high but with barely a quarter of the campaign played Allardyce is refusing to get carried away. He says the pre-season aims have not changed in the wake of 17 points from 10 matches.
"It's too early to change the goal we set," said the 60-year-old. "Our rivals on Saturday, Aston Villa, got off to a fantastic start this season, with 10 points from their first four games and then, all of a sudden, they lose six on the trot.
"Things can change very quickly at this level and we've just make sure we keep plodding along, ploughing through the long season and make sure in this phase we do as well as we did in the last. Then we can see about maybe changing where we think we might finish later in the year."
If 17 points and a goal difference of +5 represents West Ham's best start to a BPL season, it is not the result of any change in coaching style, according to Allardyce.
"My philosophy has never changed"
"My philosophy has never changed. How the team plays best and how the best way of playing suits the team individually and collectively, the goal is always to get better and better, and always to play to win more games and be entertaining. My philosophy is always about staying focused, trying to make the team better.
"The problem we have today is everybody wants change overnight. That can happen but rarely does it sustain long-term success, so building slowly has always been my philosophy and trying to get better year in and year out. Hopefully, everybody will see by the end of this year we've got better and better in the last three seasons in the Barclays Premier League.”
This season Southampton manager Ronald Koeman and forward Graziano Pelle won the awards for September, Swansea City manager Garry Monk and Chelsea forward Diego Costa scooped the August prizes.
The Barclays Manager and Player of the Month nominees for October were as follows:
- Barclays Manager of the Month: Jose Mourinho (Chelsea), Steve Bruce (Hull City), Sam Allardyce (West Ham United), Alan Pardew (Newcastle United)
- Barclays Player of the Month: Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal), Diafra Sakho (West Ham United), Leighton Banes (Everton), Dusan Tadic (Southampton), Saido Berahino (West Bromwich Albion).
|Diafra Sakho's goals in October
|West Ham United 2-0 Queens Park Rangers
|Burnley 1-3 West Ham United
|West Ham United 2-1 Manchester City
5 October West Ham United 2-0 Queens Park Rangers
18 October Burnley 1-3 West Ham United
25 October West Ham United 2-1 Manchester City
Man City striker and Newcastle manager get votes of ex-players, journalists and stakeholders