Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce feels he did “a fantastic job” at West Ham as he prepares to return to his former club in the Premier League on Saturday.
Allardyce was in charge of the Hammers for four seasons from 2011 to 2015, leading them to promotion from the Championship before a trio of mid-table finishes set against the backdrop of sustained opposition from supporters over his playing style.
He now returns to Upton Park with his team sitting second bottom of the table, but just one point adrift of safety after picking up four points from two games against Liverpool and Manchester United.
And Allardyce has spoken of his pride at what he achieved at West Ham, claiming it was only a small minority of supporters who opposed him.
“Overall, the vast majority thought I did a good job there and it was only a small minority that showed some disapproval,” he said at his pre-match media conference.
“For me, like I said, I did a fantastic job and I did what they asked me to do. I always take great satisfaction if a football club is in a better position from when I took over.
“West Ham are no different from any other club in that they make their mouths heard more than others sometimes.
“It is not a Sam Allardyce thing, it’s a West Ham thing, so it’s not really me. All the others [West Ham managers] have had the same amount of stick as I had over the years.”
Allardyce is under no illusions as to the difficulty of playing at West Ham – who are unbeaten in 10 Premier League home games – and said he would be satisfied to take a point.
“West Ham have not lost at home since August,” he said. “It shows the difficult task we have got and one we have to meet head on with confidence we have gained. We will try and cause them a few problems.
“We have got to find a minimum of five wins between now and the end of the season to be safe. We have won three, drawn two and lost two in our last seven, which has been the best run since I have been here.
“I think if we can continue that, it has got to start at West Ham on Saturday and certainly if we don’t win the game, make sure we don’t lose it away from home.
“A point is always a very valuable point away from home, especially in our position.”
Allardyce added that no decision has yet been taken on whether to sign free agent Emmanuel Eboue, who has been training with the club, with a verdict expected next week.