West Ham boss Sam Allardyce delighted with share of spoils at Norwich City
PUBLISHED: 10:11 17 September 2012 | UPDATED: 16:17 17 September 2012
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Chris Hughton was not the only manager left bemoaning the lack of a cutting edge in the goalless Premier Legue draw at Carrow Road.
West Ham counterpart Sam Allardyce was content with a ‘hard-earned’ point which he felt could have been exchanged for all three if the Eastenders had carried on in the same vein as their previous league romp against Fulham.
“We are satisfied with that because our finishing was not as good as it should have been, our final ball was not as good as it should have been today,” he said. “I suppose Chris might say the same about some of the chances his side created but on occasion my players defended those situations well. I am happy (with a point).
“In the end it could have been anybody’s game with the way it went. There were chances created from both sides but it is a clean sheet and a valuable point away from home.
“It wasn’t as if it was two teams who sat back and defended. We were both attacking and their were chances at either end. There was none of those basic errors we made at Swansea. Three clean sheets out of four games is a great basis to build a successful team on – particularly a promoted one.”
Allardyce backed referee Chris Foy’s call not to award Norwich a penalty in the closing stages of the first half after Andrew Surman tumbled to avoid James Collins’ clumsy challenge just outside the West Ham penalty area.
“There were inches in it but it was the right decision and it could have so easily been persuaded to give the penalty by where the player finished in the box,” he said. “From my point of view, major decisions have to be given correctly and I am glad the referee did in this one incident, in my opinion.
“I don’t overlook that because I speak to the match delegate every single week. Not all my fellow managers do by the way, which I think is remiss of them. I review the game and talk to the match delegate, who has his view, and we can hopefully try to help the referees get more right than wrong and I am just pleased that happened in this case.”
Allardyce, like Hughton, would have selected an unchanged line up but for Andy Carroll’s untimely hamstring injury following his recent loan move from Liverpool.
“The leg is improving rapidly. We will assess the situation day by day and the minute we can get him back, we will obviously,” said the Hammers’ boss. “There was no way I could make a case to change the side from beating Fulham comfortably two weeks ago - apart from the one I was forced into with Andy. “Carlton (Cole) came in, who I thought worked hard. At times he was marshalled well by Norwich’s two central defenders. We could have perhaps got a little bit better service into him but getting (Modibo) Maiga on was important for us as well. He was a big goalscorer in France and he has to get a feel for the Premier League and the tempo. Those two are in big competition for places when Andy is out.”
Allardyce was particularly pleased with the performance of defender Winston Reid, who had been on World Cup duty in New Zealand earlier in the week.
“He was outstanding against the aerial power of first Holt, then Morison. He did a terrific job,” he said.
“The first time the whole squad had been together was Friday because Reid didn’t get back until Thursday afternoon, and looking at the whole squad jogging round the pitch, I think we’ve got some good talent and some strength in depth and some quality players.
“That will stand us in good stead and the start we’ve had will take a little bit of pressure off us with seven points out of 12.”
Allardyce also had the luxury of keeping big money summer signing Matt Jarvis in reserve for the first hour - and that squad depth could hold the key to their survival chances.
“We can introduce players off the bench who are much fresher but with the same quality of those already on the field,” he said. “It didn’t get us the ultimate today, which was the win, but we didn’t find the right quality in front of goal. Looking around the squad I think we have some good talent and strength in depth. That will stand us in good stead and the start we have had will take some pressure off us with seven points from four games.
“I couldn’t even find a spot for Gary O’Neil today - that says everything about the depth and quality. We will get injuries along the way and those players not involved will make a claim for a starting shirt.”