Sam Allardyce takes his side back into Premier League action on Saturday after a two week break without a match and is looking forward to seeing some of the work put in on the training ground during that period be put into game time against Middlesbrough.
"We've tried to get them a little fitter in this period, with no game, physical and mental go hand in hand. The better you feel physically, the better you feel mentally. We've picked up a couple of knocks and injuries along the way, but we gave them a long weekend off to recover from that, and have built up this week towards a massive game against Boro. This two-week break will hopefully have a major impact on us getting a massive result."
The club are in 19th position going into the game and Allardyce knows that in the closing weeks of the season the players will be under pressure to maintain their status in the top flight but he is clear of the targets to be met for them to achieve safety.
"We have to finish on top of the bottom seven I'm thinking about. We need to live up to the expectation and pressure, and deliver on Saturday.
"We were supposed to beat Sunderland here, lost 4-0. Supposed to beat Swansea, lost 2-1. It's not Boro we're playing against, we're playing against ourselves here. We didn't cope mentally against Sunderland or Swansea, so we have to get our best game on the field in this game.”
In the last game against Stoke City the side came close to picking up a point on their travels and the boss is keen to impress how important all points are, regardless of how they are picked up along the way.
"A few draws in the last 8-10 games would have made a massive difference in our position now. If you have a draw, hang onto it, respect the point. That's what I've told the players."
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