Is there any team news?
Just the usual we have many players fit and available and hopefully we will be fine.
Is Yarmolenko back with the group and training?
He came back in yesterday and did a bit of light training and we had a good chat, obviously he is really upset with the whole situation as many people are especially those from Ukraine so we will not rush him, I asked him to come in today and see how he feels and if he feels fine and up to it he will travel tomorrow with the team but if he does not then we will give him some more days off.
You will make that decision today?
Yes, it is a daily ongoing thing. We will give him the chance to go with his own feelings.
How was he when you spoke to him?
He was really upset. He has lots of family and friends in Ukraine. He is worried for everyone. He realises the difficulty. He is a long way away and can’t do anything about it. He is upset and rightly so.
Is the FA Cup a realistic chance of a trophy?
Let’s be fair, every manager wants to win a trophy. We’re no different. I look more at how we’re going to continue to try and build the club and keep getting closer to winning trophies.
We’re on a good track at the moment, but the next couple of years will be an important time. We’re trying to build a side that’s getting stronger. If we can do it sooner, great. We’ve made a swift move from a team around the bottom to a team towards the top end of the Premier League. We’re involved in Europe, had a decent run in the Carabao Cup, and we’re trying to get a good run in the FA Cup if we can as well
It is well publicised there were no signings in January. With three games in 19 days will you have to prioritise or do you have the squad to cope?
It would be unfair [just to mention West Ham] I think a lot of clubs did not buy players in January. We were very serious about trying to bring players to the club in January but for different reasons, it did not happen.
We know we are a little bit short of where we would like to be, the squad I have at the moment have done a brilliant job over the last two years and I have no reason to think they will not do a brilliant job in the coming three months between now and the end of the season.
What have you said to Kurt Zouma to make sure he is mentally right and to get the good performances recently out of him?
We just want Kurt to play like he has done prior to the incident, which obviously we’re all very regretful for. He’s had to focus himself. It’s a situation he’s put himself in, but he’s been mentally tough enough to get himself through it and played very well.
How are the club helping Yarmolenko? Is there anything tangible the club can do to help him?
It is a really difficult situation for us as well. We would like to offer him more help and support if we can but we don’t know what we can do either. It is the same across the world. The world is wanting to offer Ukraine as much support as we can.
All we can hope is the sanctions somewhere along the line take their toll on Russia as nobody wants war with any country. As for Yarmolenko, we are speaking to him most days, the players were great with him yesterday, they tried to integrate him and made him feel really welcome, and his family. There is very little we can do. We have to just try and support him the best way we can.
UEFA and FIFA finally took action and that has affected your competition [the Europa League], do you agree with the sanctions?
I totally agree. It could probably have been done even quicker. UEFA have worked really hard. They have got rid of games and they have moved the Champions League final. Football is such a powerful tool all round the world. Every country watches the Premier League. and the Champions League because of that, it is really important that we take action and make sure we isolate them completely. I am not a politician but that’s how I feel about the football side.
Since the 2006 final you have only reached the quarter-final twice and have not had many European campaigns for the club the size of West Ham to you expect more?
Every football club wants to reach those heights – not just West Ham. A lot of clubs have had big falls from grace, simirl clubs to West Ham and have dropped to lower levels, but here since we’ve come in, we’ve had a really good year. We’ve been involved in the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup, got to a good stage of the FA Cup, and we’re involved in Europe.
The club’s doing a really good job. We hope to strengthen and to do better in years to come and we want to be more around the Cup competitions, but even through history, it’s been the top teams who have tended to win the competitions, not always, so we have to try and get ourselves in a position where we’ve got more of a chance of reaching semi-finals and finals and hopefully winning them as well.
You have had tough battles with Southampton this season, they seem a rising force is that how you regard them?
I think Southampton’s recent form has been very good, they were excellent against Tottenham the other week. I think they are in a good vein of form. The Premier League at different times does that, you have teams in good form and others not quite so good. I think Southampton are one of those sides.
We have had interesting games over the years against them and at the moment Southampton came out on top in the last league game so we know it is going to be a difficult game.
Do you see them as in the mix for European places this season?
A good run of form keeps you in there and keeps your momentum going. They have been on a very good run of form Southampton.
They have recovered from a difficult start and I think they are doing well.