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Allardyce on... Portsmouth

Filed: Saturday, 10th September 2011
By: Staff Writer

Sam's sexy soccer? A happy Mr Allardyce admits to getting a little 'excited' by the attacking football his side are playing at the moment during tonight's post-match press conference, which we bring you in full...

Sam: did you see the red card as the turning point?

Yes I did. I think the game was very even at the time and the most important thing to do when a decision like that happens is to take full advantage of it - and that's what we did.

From thereon, apart from the referee trying hard for both teams - I'm not too sure if some of his decisions were in the best interests of the game today - it had everything and we got the win we wanted.

Certainly Carlton's goal at the end was a pleasure to watch. That's him on a real roll now, with four on the trot. He's looking a real good player for me and enjoying his game.

[We] got off to a bad start with a deflected goal [but] recovered brilliantly with an outstanding free kick from Matt Taylor. Then we got our noses in front with a little change of shape at half time to give us more in terms of going forward.

We threw that lead away by not defending correctly in midfield then [followed] the sending off and the penalty - and then taking full advantage of it with Carlton's goal. It eased all our nerves.

I was told it was the first time we've won at home since March so some of the players who were here [then] would have felt very nervous before they went out. But I think in the end, seeing the squad growing, improving and getting its first win at home; four wins, one draw and only one defeat that was right at the very start of the season - and we're still not at our best yet.

We've still a long way to go until everybody settles in, everybody's fit enough and everybody knows each other better. Once that happens, we'll get better and better as the season goes on. So we're certainly setting ourselves a great target by having 13 points out of six games. We're going to get better and better, I think, with the players we've brought in. We're doing it right now; it looks exciting at the moment.

Talking about the players you've brought in, they [the supporters] will soon forget about Scott Parker if [Henri] Lansbury keeps playing like that?

Fantastic. Certainly from the first half he looked really good, so we pushed him forward one and slightly changed to a 4-2-3-1 instead of a 4-3-3. That's where he ended up getting the goal and that's where we ended up feeding him in higher up the pitch. Great technical ability and great energy today, it shows he's had a full pre-season with Arsenal and played for the under-21s.

But he's ready to do it, whereas Kevin Nolan had six weeks off with an operation, George McCartney's been bombed out at Sunderland, Joey O'Brien hadn't played for two-and-a-half years and Abdoulaye Faye didn't play for the last six months at Stoke.

All those lads have got to catch up with their fitness whereas Henri is right on top of his fitness so his quality stands out that little bit more. David Bentley, again, comes on and shows outstanding quality - and in the end, quality counts.

Four goals we scored - not only this week but we've scored that at Forest and we've scored it at Watford. So we're very, very good at scoring goals. Here, at Upton Park, we're not so great at defending - so we've got to change it and make that better.

It might be a daft question, but did you realise just how quick that lad [Lansbury] might be when you brought him in?

Yeah. Many others told me from down here that he was, then a little bit of ringing round to see what he was like last year. He had a very exciting time at Norwich last year so he, like Kevin Nolan, has experienced exactly what it takes to win automatic promotion out of this division. That experience is very, very important and we'd love him to keep growing and getting better.

When players like that come into the fray and challenge the players who have already got the place, it makes my life a little difficult on rotation and leaving players out sometimes that I don't think should be left out. But I think that's a nice position to be in if you've got to cope with 46 very difficult games in this division.

4-3s are obviously great for us, watching that - but as a manager do you appreciate that, or would you prefer a grim 1-0?

No, no, no - I prefer to get 4-2 up with only five minutes to play any chance, any time of the day! Like I said, we did it at Watford and we did it at Forest; the disappointing thing sometimes is like Leeds United, 2-1 up... We finished Portsmouth off today effectively so there was no way back for them, whereas we didn't finish Leeds off and ended up paying the price in the last minute. But I think that scoring goals is what it's all about and we've got the quality to do it, see?

So the more the players get to know each other the fitter they get, the more organised they get, the more understanding we get. The better team spirit grows, the better we get, the better results [get] and the more chances we create. At some stages in today's game we had to dig in, because Portsmouth were very, very difficult to play against at times.

You've got a big squad to choose from now but you decided to leave John Carew out. Is he injured? [Question from Norwegian media]

No it's like what I said - the ridiculous decision this year by the Football League to reduce [substitutes from] seven to five, which had to be purely based on saving a few bob, is not the right thing to do when you're competing in 46 games. The Premier League gets 38 games and seven subs, we get 46 games and are only allowed five. So we have to leave people out and disappoint people by not even including them as a substitute.

What they've got to do is fight. Fight for your place. If you get the shirt or you get the chance to go and get the shirt, make sure you keep it. If you don't, there'll be somebody ready to grab it and take it off you. You know, if you can't take your position for granted then we'll be nothing but excellent every week, hopefully.

So he's not injured?


How disappointed are you with Piquionne's sending off?

He shouldn't have raised his hands, that's true. But also you're only to be sent off if you put your hands in an opposition player's face - and he didn't do that. So technically, as I have had many excuses via the referee's association saying 'technically it is a sending off' well this time technically because he hasn't touched his face it's not a sending off.

What's the story behind Cole going to Galatasary - did the club just turn down a bid? How close was that deal?

Well I don't want to detract too much from the result we've had today because Carlton Cole's played a major part in that. But this ridiculous opportunity for other countries to be allowed an extra few days is beyond belief, for me.

I have done nothing but work and work and work in terms of players out to players in, finding the right players at the right price to come in and the right quality of player with the right mentality. And then some of the players that wanted to leave, letting them go. I think in my time I've sold five, maybe six. I certainly sold Da Costa when I come [here] and then Kovac. Allowed Jordan Spence to go on loan; [sold] Junior Stanislas, Zavon Hines and Scott Parker. I got money for all those players and then replaced them with, I think, quality players.

Then the window shuts and you all breathe a sigh of relief and think 'thank God for that'.

Certainly, when I finished the window and had signed Henri Lansbury, David Bentley and Guy Demel, I was absolutely delighted. With Papa [Bouba Diop] getting his work permit the day before [the deadline] I'm thinking 'well, what a job we've done'. Not just me, everybody in the football club - particularly the owners who supported me in doing that business, which is a part of what I am as a manager. After all these years.

Sitting in Spain, sipping a glass of Sangria thinking 'well, I might enjoy a Paella' then ping - ring, ring, ping; email, call; email, call - and 48 hours of sheer Hell, really, just fighting off the fact that the Galatasary bid was not something that we should do.

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