The VAR took three minutes for Miacial Anotnio’s disallowed goal against Brighton. Have the authorities have been on with an explanation?
No not to me and I disagreed with Dermot Gallagher. I don’t know how he saw it hit someone’s leg but maybe they have a picture we have not seen. But I am looking forward to seeing the picture where it hits his leg.
Any team news?
Aaron Cresswell is back in training, doing some light training. After that everyone is okay, obviously Angelo Ogbonna did his cruciate a few weeks ago but I think in the main we are we’re pretty close to having everyone fit.
You have big derby experience, where does this one rank?
Some of them have been incredibly big when you’re at Manchester United to have a derby against Man City or Liverpool is a really big game. But I’ve got to be honest to say none of them is bigger than the Glasgow derby. That is huge, so that is the one I always think about.
Overall, I don’t know how many people actually see West Ham v Chelsea as a derby. It is a London derby but we might have bigger derbies But overall it’s another big game.
Even with your experience, this one excites you?
They all excite me. We are playing the Champions League winners. Last week we played the Champions League finalists as well. I said a few weeks ago, I really want us to play the best teams and see how we do and see where we are at, it is the only way to find out.
I said at the start, ‘can we challenge them?’ ‘How well can we do against them?’ So we’ll try and do that against Chelsea.
What are the keys to success against Chelsea?
Well, the keys to success are very difficult and if I knew them, I wouldn’t actually say them on here because then Thomas, I’m sure, would do something about it. Everybody playing against Chelsea is finding how difficult it is. We have seen the quality in Europe against Juventus as well so it’s very hard to find any weaknesses in their team, they’ve got a really strong squad as everybody’s aware. So it will be difficult. I’ve got to say it’s a tough, tough game and I’ve got to say the manager has done a really good job since he’s come in. He has won trophies and he’s been successful, which at Chelsea is the requirement. You have to come in and compete at the top.
You’ve gone from facing relegation to courting the top four, is this potentially the perfect game to get back to winning ways?
Potentially yes so I am looking forward to it because I think it’s a game we played quite well in this game in recent seasons, we had a great win probably when we were trying to stay up when Yarmolenko scores the winner late on in one of the games I will always remember. The three points were vital. We needed to beat a team near the top and I think last year we played quite well, we got unlucky last year that we didn’t get something out of the game. But let’s not kid ourselves, Chelsea are a top team and a team in form as well.
Five goals and five assists, Antonio has been involved in 10 goals in his last 10 Premier League London derbies and Antonio is the only West Ham player in Premier League history to register double figures for both goals, 11, and assists 10 in London derby matches. Is that the confidence that could get Michail firing again?
I think when you’re a centre-forward we can think of many who go through a barren spell and don’t quite get the goals and it’s not going in for them. I mean, Mic been a little bit unlucky, he had a really good header the other night that the keeper made a save from. Mic is really important for us, he is a focal point for our team. We’ve needed him over the last couple of years playing as a centre-forward. We’ve missed him when we have not had him so I’m hoping we can get him back into scoring ways and into top form.
So just needs a little confidence?
Sometimes I think all strikers would say they just need to keep getting chances and sometime you will miss some. The worst thing is when you are not getting any chances or having any chances, so lets hope Mic continues to get chances.
Last year you said it was getting some kind of European football – putting into focus how much you want fourth?
I said right at the start I finished two points behind Chelsea in the league and the challenge I put down to the players was if we can get the extra two points and whether those two points were going to get us in the Champions League or not I had no idea but I’ve said can we challenge the teams in the top four.
There are a lot of teams who are used to being there and I think for us even to make a fist of it is a good start.
This time last year we were probably quite a little bit down the league and we only picked up in the second half of the season so we’ve made a really good start to the season, the job now is to hang in there and keep on the shirt-tails of the teams at the top and see if we can have a right go at it come the end of the season.
The player’s mentality is that they want to be in the top four, I certainly do and we’ll need to see if we can improve that come the end of the season.
Not having cohesion against Brighton?
Well you don’t have any time to be honest with the program that we’ve got. But it’ll be the same for all the Premier League managers at the moment, certainly this week with three Premier League fixtures it’s certainly quite difficult then.
I think we’ve seen a lot of injuries this week, it’s the volume of games. We’ve tried to manage our players during the week and certainly in the European games we’ve done pretty well but it’s not an easy thing to get back.
We’ve played really well for long parts of the season and it’s always going to be the case, there will be bits of the season, there might be dips, there might be injuries, we’ve lost Ogbonna two weeks ago and we’ve not quite got that totally sorted, we’ve lost Aaron Cresswell.
So injuries will play a part in a lot of clubs at different times but look we’ll get back to it I’m sure we will we just need to find a bit better form and use the ball better than we have done in the last few games and hopefully better against Chelsea.
Fans back for the game. Is that huge compared to last season?
They’ve done a great job for us, the supporters have been really great for us all season, away from home and at home the stadium has been rocking.
I actually think it should be because of the way the players have performed, the players have done great things and even the other night when we were disappointed to draw away, the number of chances we had and hit the underside of the bar, one headed off the line in the last minute so we had a lot of goalmouth action.
I hope we can keep the chances up and let’s hope we can convert a few more.
Thomas Tuchel talked about rest and recuperation before this game.
Well, first of all, rest and recuperation is really important. But I think when you have been brought up in the lower leagues in England and playing every Saturday, Wednesday, Saturday, Wednesday, I’m quite used to the games and quite used to the way we play in this country. And I see it as part of the job. I see it as part of a normal DNA over here that we have a lot of games and you have to get yourself out again and ready to play. And as a manager, I have to try and get the players prepared the best I can for the next game.
It’s been good that we’ve had European football because it’s given me a chance to sort of get the players a little bit prepared for Thursday and Sundays. But this week’s been a tough week we played Sunday and Wednesday and now Saturday so we have had three games in six days and two of them are against the Champions League finalists. So it makes for a tough week for us. But we’re going to try and take them on and we’re doing all we can to try and get the players in the best condition and keep them right. The best thing is the players have a really good mentality and they’re all getting ready to play again.
The Premier League are talking about ending parachute payments. Do you think that will make the Championship more competitive?
I would say that I think the parachute payments are something which should be looked at because it may be an advantage to the teams coming down that they get a chance to come back up but I could also look at it another way and say they have earned the parachute payments because of getting into the Premier League in the first place. So there are different ways to look at it.
My Preston North End side just missed out on getting promoted years ago. That would have been hugely important for them if they could have got up and since then they have never really been able to get there. So I do see it as an important issue and I think it’s something that should be looked at. But I think there’s a couple of different sides to the argument, clubs going down have big wages and how do you suddenly change those wages back to Championship money if they do not get the parachute payments to help out, so I think there’s a lot of other issues. It sounds an easy thing to say ‘yes, let’s get rid of it.’ But I generally don’t think of it as an easy situation.