skip to content
We're 21st-century boys - McDonald
West Ham will be playing football more in keeping with this century when they welcome Swansea to Upton Park on Saturday, assistant manager Neil McDonald has promised.
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho accused the Hammers of playing "19th-century football" in their 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, with a terrific regard performance earning West Ham a valuable point in their battle to avoid relegation from the Barclays Premier League.
Sam Allardyce defended his decision to play for a point in west London and McDonald backed his manager on Friday by, claiming it is sometimes necessary to adopt such an approach.
"It will be 21st-century football, of course," he said. "Listen, tactics are tactics, sometimes you go away from home and you have to try and do as much as you possibly can. Certainly when you're playing against a top-four team you have to be defensively sound.
"You have to be well organised and we certainly were. It's good to get under the skin of the top four teams so that they can't have it their own way all the time."
With West Ham struggling in the league when the transfer window opened, many expected an attempt to bring in several new faces and overhaul the squad.
But with Roger Johnson, Antonio Nocerino and Marco Borriello brought in on loan and Abdul Razak signing a short-term deal, McDonald feels the return to fitness of a number of key players has been more pivotal to their survival fight, without ruling out the possibility of further additions before the close of the window.
"I think the regeneration has been the players coming back from injury, which is great," he added.
"James Collins is back, Winston Reid is very close and Ricardo Vaz Te is very, very close as well.
"Andy Carroll is getting plenty of time on the pitch at the moment and if we can add any other players to that it will add strength to the squad and good competition to take us on for the rest of the season."
Swansea manager Michael Laudrup will have the same squad that secured victory against Fulham for the weekend trip to Upton Park.
Nathan Dyer, Jonjo Shelvey, Jonathan de Guzman and Angel Rangel all returned from injury in the vital win over the Cottagers in midweek.
Michel Vorm, Michu and Jose Canas are continuing their recoveries from various ailments, although they could be fit enough to play some part in the upcoming south Wales derby.
Laudrup has no issues with Allardyce's tactical approach and has warned his side to expect a stern physical examination at West Ham.
Laudrup had no issues with Allardyce's game plan at Chelsea, believing the ends justified the means.
He said: "Every game is different, you have to play the way you think is best for your team in each particular game.
"West Ham did that, they were very brave. Yes, they defended inside their own box a lot but they got a point at Chelsea, where under Mourinho they have not lost in I don't know how long.
"We tried a different way up there and we lost so you could say West Ham did better than us.
"They could have lost the game, but they didn't. Whenever you get a result, you are right. So they did well."
And Laudrup fully expects his side to have to deal with a very direct approach from the hosts at Upton Park.
"It will be a tough game, not because of what they did at Chelsea but they are very strong physically, and we are not so much," said the Dane.
"The players already know what to expect from Andy Carroll, Kevin Nolan, James Tomkins, James Collins and company so it will be a tough afternoon for us."
Tuesday's win over Fulham moved Swansea five points clear of West Ham and the relegation zone and, despite the Hammers' draw at Chelsea, Laudrup has tried to put pressure on Allardyce and company by claiming they have to win on home turf.
"Obviously when you win there is less pressure and maybe more pressure on the opponent," he said.
"Even if they had a draw in midweek, tomorrow West Ham will feel like we did against Fulham as they are at home and I would imagine everyone up there is saying, 'If we want to avoid relegation we have to beat Swansea at home if we look at the fixtures'."
"Who will win the PL title this season - 2013/14?"
© 2004 - 2014 football.co.uk