Big Sam banks on Dubai break to fire Irons up for Spurs derby and boost survival bid
PUBLISHED: 07:41 13 February 2013 | UPDATED: 09:05 13 February 2013
Manager Sam Allardyce is hoping West Ham’s warm-weather break to Dubai will provide a repeat prescription of last year’s boost in form over the closing months of the season.
The Irons are without a Premier League match now until they host Tottenham on February 25, when they will be seek to maintain safe distance between themselves and the battle for survival.
Such a trip proved the perfect tonic for Allardyce’s squad 12 months ago when, on their return from the Middle East, they lost just one of the remaining 14 Championship games as West Ham secured promotion back to the top-flight through the play-offs.
Allardyce is in no doubt the five-day break will prove to be of great benefit.
“It worked last year, we had a fantastic finish to the season and I still think the trip that we had at this time last year was a big benefit in the end for getting us promoted into the Premier League,” Allardyce said on West Ham TV.
“I have talked to a lot of managers and they have already taken the opportunity to get away when they can, a few more [teams] are going around the same time as us and some more afterwards.
“Nearly everybody does it today which obviously is a benefit to you and the team, and the results when you come back.”
Allardyce maintains the squad will reap the benefits as they look to get Sunday’s 2-1 defeat at relegation-battlers Aston Villa out of their system, which was a fourth loss in six league games.
“When they are in gloves and hats, it is hard to keep them warm, you have to keep them going. It is not an ideal environment,” he said.
“When the lads can train in short sleeves and shorts, they don’t want to finish training, they just want to carry on. You get an awful lot more out of them.
“The benefits mentally will be massive. The pressure on players today is enormous in the Barclays Premier League, it is all around you, all the time, 24/7.
“So to go away and recuperate physically and mentally is a big, big thing for us.”