Allardyce: West Ham must be fully prepared for the play-offs
09:32 19 April 2012
PA Wire/Press Association Images
Hammers boss hoping Middlesbrough can do his side a favour
West Ham boss Sam Allardyce has conceded that his side’s automatic promotion hopes are now out of their own hands, following Tuesday night’s 1-1 draw at Bristol City.
The Hammers now sit five points behind second-placed Southampton, with just two games remaining.
And with the Saints making a trip to Middlesbrough on Saturday, two days before West Ham visit Leicester City, Allardyce admits that his side are in a state of limbo.
“We have to wait until Saturday now, there is nothing we can do until Monday in terms of ourselves and how we prepare for Leicester and what we do, based on what the result is at Boro,” he said.
“So we will wait and see after Saturday, we will decide what way forward will be better for us and where we go from there.
“We were always going to have to ask someone else to do us a favour and even if we get that favour from Middlesbrough on Saturday against Southampton, we still have to go and beat Leicester.
“It is still going to be difficult for us having to win our home game and think that Southampton might slip up but that is what we have to believe in.”
With it looking increasingly likely that West Ham will now end up in the play-offs, Allardyce is keen to stress the importance of preparing his side correctly.
“Whatever happens in the play-offs, whether you finish third, fourth, fifth or sixth, it is about the mentality of preparing yourself correctly,” he added.
“There is no other game to compare with the experience of the play-offs, they are completely one-off and on their own and you have got to handle the pressure that comes with it and deliver over three games.
“You don’t have to win the first two games, over two legs you can draw and win and get through and when the other one comes you have got to be ready.
“The most important thing if we end up there is being prepared for the first two games and not to be thinking about anything other than that, otherwise anyone can beat anyone as we have seen in the play-offs.
“Form and league positioning means absolutely nothing when the play-offs come round.”