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Nov 19, 2012

Allardyce: We have to maximise resources

West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce has defended the playing style of his own team and Stoke City as the two sides prepare to go head to head at Upton Park on Monday night.

Allardyce and Stoke boss Tony Pulis have a reputation for adopting a more direct, long ball game which is often criticised by the football purists - but it is a system which has brought results for both managers.

West Ham fans were sceptical about the appointment of Allardyce 18 months ago, with his approach to the game seen as the polar opposite of what the Hammers should stand for. But after winning promotion back into the Premier League at the first attempt through the play-offs, Allardyce's side could climb above Everton into fifth with a win over Stoke.

Pulis, meanwhile, has masterminded a fourth season in the Premier League for Stoke and this season they have the best defence in the division - joint with Manchester City - with 10 goals conceded.

While West Ham could move into a Europa League position, Stoke's record of drawing games - they have shared the points in six of their 11 Premier League matches and won only twice - means they sit 14th, just three points above Aston Villa in the relegation zone.

Allardyce told the Daily Mail about the tactics: "They are not the same. Mine are not the same as Tony's. I'm an individual. Nobody copies Sam Allardyce. I don't copy anybody else.

"We have the same philosophy in terms of we both want to defend well and make sure our team is organised and understand what's needed to be done in terms of game-plan. We both also have to maximise our resources to make sure that the club is successful.

"When you look at what Tony has done, Stoke fill their ground every week and have been doing so for years now.

"Tony Pulis' team are well drilled. They get the defensive side right, as I try to do. The improvement in quality of their players has made them an established Premier League side now.

"Tony probably thinks they are under-achieving. He had a more difficult start to the season than we did, so I'm sure they'll get back to winning ways, but I hope it's not [Monday]."

Pulis admits he is struggling to find a solution to Stoke City's problematic away form ahead of the trip to the Boleyn Ground.

Stoke have managed to collect only three points away from the Britannia Stadium this season and are still looking for their first Premier League win on their travels since the beginning of 2012.

Pulis knows his good friend Allardyce and his seventh-placed side will present another formidable obstacle to Stoke's attempt to end that sequence, but he is at a complete loss as to why his team have been almost a calendar year without a victory away from home.

"I honestly don't know. The reason why? I just can't work out. Our away performances have been very good and we have created lots of chances to win games of football, but just haven't got over the line," said Pulis.

Pulis feels his side need to show a more ruthless streak and also wants Charlie Adam to start contributing more goals from midfield, but with the quality he has at his disposal he is convinced the search for a victory on the road will end soon.

Stoke have drawn three, against Wigan, Reading and Liverpool and lost to Chelsea, Manchester United and Norwich in their six away games this season, but Pulis added: "We will get over the line. It will happen. I am convinced of that. As long as the players keep believing and working as hard as they have been doing, we'll be fine. "We've actually played better away from home at times than we have done at home. For some reason, we just can't seem to turn the performances into victories.

"If you look back, Reading got a penalty in the 93rd minute to equalise, while at Wigan the 'keeper makes an outstanding save to deny us a late winner.

"We were beaten by a late goal at Chelsea, we played better than we have ever done at Manchester United and we got a great point at Liverpool. Then in the last away game, we missed chances at Norwich which would have earned us at least a draw."

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