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Big Sam sets sight on cup final
Published : 21 Sep 2010 15:16:00
lackburn boss Sam Allardyce he is more excited by the prospect of a cup final than that of playing in Europe this season. A push for European football may not be beyond Rovers this term if they can improve upon their 10th-placed finish in the 2009-10 campaign. Allardyce's side also reached the Carling Cup semi-finals, where they were beaten over two legs by Aston Villa, their opponents in tomorrow night's third-round tie. The manager knows that progress in the league must be the club's main objective, but Allardyce would love to go one better in the cup and earn a trip to Wembley he feels would potentially be more special than any journey across the continent. "My priority every year is about finishing as high as we can - Premier League first, those are my instructions from my bosses," Allardyce said. "Anything else over and above that is a bonus, but I've always said from an ambition point of view and just from a pure football point of view, everybody wants to get to a cup final. "For me, it's probably more exciting getting to a cup final than it is competing in Europe. "If you get to a cup final you could be up there on the rostrum picking the trophy up and that stays with you for the rest of your life." Steven Nzonzi could feature at Villa Park having been left out of the Rovers starting line-up in recent weeks. Nzonzi has struggled to replicate the form which won him the club's player of the year award last season but Allardyce is confident the Frenchman will bounce back. "Perhaps he got a little bit too much praise last year, but he has to just get his feet back on the ground and get back down to basics, reproducing the sort of game that we didn't expect last season for as long as we got it," Allardyce said. "He overachieved last year and that brought him many plaudits which he deserved, but this year he has found it a little difficult to get back there. "It is all about your mental strength. He probably thought it was going to be a little easier this year, but this league is never easy and if you take it a little bit easier, unfortunately, you get found out. "He needs to just kick back into the mode he was in last season. "We were all expecting him to improve - he has had a little dip at the moment as many youngsters do, but I'm sure he'll be back very soon."