Filed: Thursday, 3rd May 2012
By: Staff Writer
Sam Allardyce admitted that he was absolutely delighted with West Ham's performance at the Cardiff City Stadium tonight - whilst reminding his team that the job is still only half done.
A Jack Collison brace put United in total control of the play-off semi final in Wales tonight with the two teams set to meet again for the second leg at the Boleyn Ground in three days' time.
But despite West Ham going into the game as overwhelming favourites to proceed to the Final at Wembley in a fortnight's time having secured a 2-0 win away from home - United's 14TH away win of the season - Allardyce warned his team not to get complacent.
"It's been a great night for us but it's only 90 minutes of a two-legged affair so anything could still happen," Allardyce told SkySports. "The onus is on us to see it through and there's no pressure on Cardiff.
"Mentally we've got to be right for that and make sure that we try and go out and win the next game. But it's a fantastic night for us and one where the players have handled the pressure extremely well, performed very well indeed and given us a great platform for the next leg."
Key to West Ham's success, according to Allardyce, was the right mental attitude and a determination not to become involved in any unnecessary incidents. And despite West Ham having four players booked on the night - albeit somewhat controversially in at least three cases - the manager felt that his players stuck to the task.
"On a big night like this, we asked the lads to control their emotions and not to do anything untoward that might cause a problem for ourselves," he confirmed. "I thought they handled the pressure very well and played very well indeed.
"I thought tactically we did everything right in terms of nullifying Cardiff and allowing them minimal chances on goal on their own ground. Our quality on the break and getting forward was outstanding - as were the chances were created.
"At 2-0 down Cardiff were going to put us under some pressure. We soaked that up pretty well and then broke out and created a few more chances that we may have converted. But it was a good performance from everybody, we're really pleased but not getting too carried away.
"On the basis of how well we've been playing I would have been disappointed had we not played like we did tonight, if we hadn't have carried on such great away performances and results. The clean sheet and the two goals were everything we were looking for and that's a fantastic 90 minutes for us."
Looking ahead to the second leg, Allardyce insisted that his team would be going for the win despite a draw - and even, dare we say it, a repeat of the scoreline on the opening day of the season - being enough to see the Hammers through to Wembley.
"We've only lost four at home all season; we're in a position now where if we don't lose we go through," he added. "But we want to win if we can and we want to continue to play like we did against Brighton and Hull City.
"If we can get that level of performance again then we'll try and go and win that game, if we possibly can. But we must make sure that at the end of 90 minutes we're through to the Final."
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