The two clubs meet this weekend.
"I think I can say this because he's my mate we don't have too many of those in football, but for me Sam gets undue, unfair publicity for his so-called way of playing," he said.
"Looking at what he has done in the last 10-15 years in the Premier League you know whenever you're playing one of his teams that you'll need to be at your best to beat them.
"They'll be committed, meticulously well organised and difficult to play against.
"Then you look at the squad of players they have assembled very quickly and see they have a good squad.
"He's a had a fair few injuries to put up with but he's assembled a very good group. Against West Ham and especially against 'Big Sam' it is a tough game. Always."