Allardyce hoping for Morrison magic
Manager Sam Allardyce hopes Ravel Morrison can help West Ham upset Chelsea in Saturday's London derby.
The Hammers have not won in the Barclays Premier League since a 3-0 victory at Tottenham in which Morrison starred, while they are still chasing a first Upton Park win in the league since the opening day defeat of Cardiff.
Morrison's form has been such that he has been mentioned as a possible member of England's World Cup squad, if Three Lions boss Roy Hodgson can be persuaded to promote the winger who scored a volley in under-21 training which went viral on the internet.
"Ravel's blessed with talent," Allardyce said. "He flashed a bit of that talent out in that training session.
"We all know his ability has started to be applied in the right way.
"For me, there's still a massive room for improvement. There's still better to come. There's still more I demand.
"Hopefully that will continue to improve his development and help West Ham be a better team with better results in the near future."
Allardyce was Bolton manager when Jose Mourinho's Chelsea won the 2005 Premier League title at the Reebok Stadium in the Portuguese's first season in England.
It is not possible to compare the Blues then and now, Allardyce argues, as he seeks to replicate Newcastle's success of earlier this month and pull off a shock win against Mourinho's men.
"It's a completely different team, apart from four players," Allardyce added.
"It's a different era. It was a long time ago. A year in football is a long time these days, never mind six years.
"(Newcastle) frustrated Chelsea, they played like an away team at home.
"(They) started the whole process of winning that game by keeping a clean-sheet, scoring off a free-kick and the tactic worked brilliantly in the end. Sucked Chelsea on to them, hit them on the break and scored a second.
"It shows there is a vulnerability there if the team masters the tactics it needs to master to beat a side as big and as talented as Chelsea.
"We'll have to be on top of our game on Saturday. Anything less will make life difficult for us. If we can do that, we can cause Chelsea one or two problems, I'm sure."
Allardyce knows his side will have to finish any chance they get against the Blues, like they did at White Hart Lane, rather than repeat their recent poor showings in front of goal.
He added: "I think we will find it a little bit more difficult to create the chances that we have done, because they're a top team.
"We'll have to make sure we're clinical enough when we get one."
Chelsea avoided defeat in their last league contest, prior to the international break, with a fortunate penalty award against West Brom.
Allardyce believes technology should be used, with a referral system similar to tennis employed.
"If you've got two decisions or three decisions a game, like tennis, to say 'can we have a look at that?' we'll be much better off in this hugely demanding world that we live in," Allardyce said.
While bemoaning the attacking performance this term, the Hammers boss has been happy with his side's defensive work.
That will come under scrutiny against Chelsea, particularly after injuries during the international break for Razvan Rat, Joey O'Brien and James Collins, which added to earlier concerns for Winston Reid and George McCartney.
Of the new injuries, Rat (hamstring) is the most likely to miss the Chelsea game.
Allardyce said: "We're quite short in the defensive area and on international three defenders are blighted with injuries.
"Hopefully Joey and James will recover, I should think, and Razvan looks like a difficult one."