West Hama s Sam Allardyce has come out in defence of Arsenala s Arsene Wenger and the criticism he constantly faces.

Allardyce said: a As a manager who gets criticised as well, no. I dona t think ita s fair, but I think we accept it as part of the game when you dona t live up to the the expectations of your particular club.

a I think last year was a big bonus for him that he managed to turn round a 2-0 deficit into a victory in the FA Cup.”

a Theya re still a very good team, still got quality players. They seem to be spending a lot more money on players from other countries that have already proven their ability.”

a So they seem to be getting stronger and stronger but they just cana t find a way to get over the line any more. Maybe theya ve just lost that knack of just seeing out the season to win more.a

Allardyce also said that the English Premier League needed a winter break if they are to compete with Europea s elite. Talking in reference to Chelseaa s exit from the Champions League in the Round of 16 tie with PSG, the West Ham manager said that English football needs to take its cue from other European leagues as he felt that the English clubs play far too many games during the festive period.

Allardyce said on Chelsea’s exit: a I think that we dona t help ourselves with our fixture list.

a Playing as many games as we play through Christmas and New Year and not having the opportunity to shut the league down for a couple of weeks gives every club that plays in Europe a disadvantage.”

a When they come back into playing in Europe they may have a considerable amount of injuries in certain areas, or fatigue and mental fatigue kicks in on players.”

a And ita s bound to have an affect when other teams have had the opportunity to take a break. So I think that has something to do with it.a

Allardyce also hoped his team would put in a similar performance against Arsenal as they did against Chelsea.

He added: a For us, ita s trying to repeat the performance we gave against Chelsea – I think we need that level.”

a We know the quality of player theya ve got, we know how difficult it is at the Emirates.”

a Wea ll go and give it our best shot, I hope the lads can play to the level they played against Chelsea.”

a Having said that, as I said before the Chelsea match, we may play our very best but not get anything. And we didna t.a