West Ham boss is a worried man as Reading go second
West Ham manager Sam Allardyce admits he wakes up at six o’clock on match days worried about the fate of his Hammers side this season.
To many he looks like a confident, some would say brash manager, but make no mistake, Sam Allardyce is a worried man at the moment.
He knows his team have what it takes, not only to gain automatic promotion, but to win the Championship outright, but missed chances and spluttering home form is making the job a tough one and Reading’s 1-1 draw at Doncaster on Tuesday night, leapfrogged them into the automatic promotion places at West Ham’s expense.
“There has never not been a worry,” admitted the West Ham manager after their own 1-1 home draw with Doncaster made it four on the trot at Upton Park.
“There is a confidence to say we are good enough, but there has always been a worry.
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“Every time I wake up at six o’clock on a Saturday morning I worry before a game – it is the worst time of the week for me.”
So are his team feeling the pressure too as Reading continue on their remarkable run of results?
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“Maybe slightly and we had a bit of a discussion about it, but I think we are all big enough and professional enough to handle what’s thrown at us,” said Allardyce.
“We are on an undefeated run even though we are not as fluent as we want to be at home.
“I think the old problem that we do have is that we want someone to score goals when we get chances more often and if we do that in the last 11 games then we won’t have a problem.
“If we don’t do that then we are going to keep our nerve ends jangling to the very end.
“We didn’t have a problem at Blackpool when we went down to 10 men, we didn’t have a problem at Cardiff, but we did have a bit of a problem when we lost a goal against Doncaster because we got edgy, panicky and we can’t allow ourselves to do that.”
Of course the level of expectation for Allardyce and his squad is immense.
Southampton have been up there all season, but they were not expected to be so prominent, while other big hopes at the start of the season like Leicester City and Leeds United have found it tough to keep pace with the leaders.
So is it two from three for automatic promotion now? Allardyce is still wary of others too.
“I still see the others can go on an amazing run like Reading have,” he said with a worried frown.
“But what we have got to do is win football matches and not worry about anybody else.
“I think at the end of the day we are second in the league on 66 points, the same as Reading, one game in hand on Southampton which catches us up on points if we win it, though not on goal difference.
“Our game in hand is Peterborough away on the 27th of this month and my main concern is about having players fit and available.
“We have got to get some of them fit because it falls Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday and at the end of those it is going to decide whether we have given ourselves a bit of breathing space or whether we are going to have to fight right to the very end.”
West Ham fans may be worried, but it seems that the manager feels it every bit as much as they do.