Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Allardyce: We're Aiming to Make It Tough for City

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Allardyce: We're Aiming to Make It Tough for City

Article excerpt

SAM Allardyce insists it is not win or bust for his out-of-form Hammers when they visit Manchester City in the first leg of their Capital One Cup semi-final tonight.

With a 5-0 FA Cup mauling at Nottingham Forest coming on the back of a run of one win in 13 Barclays Premier League games, the final four meeting with City is a welcome distraction for Allardyce's side.

The dismal December run means West Ham sit 19th in the league. But Allardyce will not be too downbeat if his side fail to pick up a rare win at the Etihad Stadium and just wants to remain in the tie.

"We don't have to beat them tonight," he said.

"We have to come back with something realistic to beat them at home if we can. We have to stay as focused as we can and we have to nullify what is a great attacking force at home."

Allardyce has cited the example of Crystal Palace, who pushed City all the way in a 1-0 defeat in December.

He said: "We have to work along the lines of what Crystal Palace did recently which was be very well organised and make it extremely difficult for the talents that Manchester City have got.

"Hopefully we can do that and when we come to the end of the game it's only half-time at that stage."

The 59-year-old fielded an inexperienced side at Forest with just 14 available first-team players and, with his current injury plight, Allardyce cannot enjoy the semi-final experience as much as he would like.

"I would have preferred it to come with a lot more players fit and not in this position that we're in at the moment, but we have to face the reality of what comes along in football," he added.

"We are in a very exciting cup tie with a massive, massive feeling of joy at the end of it if, as big as the game is and the underdogs that we are, we believe that we can get there and believe that we can get to Wembley. …

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