Filed: Sunday, 19th August 2012
By: Staff Writer
A delighted Sam Allardyce reflects on a wonderful start to the season - a clean sheet and three very valuable Premier League points...
Sam: You must be very satisfield with that performance today?
Yes. In the end I thought we might have won by a goal more based on chances created and certainly when Maiga - his nickname's Van by the way - went through as cool as he did at the end. I thought he was going to finish a great team performance off for us today.
But 1-0, a clean sheet and defensively very solid. In terms of creating chances, we created them and scored the goal that won us the game off a free kick. I have to say we had a very good decision by the referee Mike Dean on the goal because when you look at it, it's clearly come off the Aston Villa's player's head.
It was a very good decision; often the referee looks at a linesman putting his flag up, doesn't question it and disallows the goal - so that was a really good decision for us. I thought we just got better as the game went on. Kevin Nolan had a good chance and I thought we should have had a penalty for the push on Carlton Cole just after half time.
We limited Aston Villa to little or nothing in terms of chances at goal. Any efforts they had came from outside the box, so all round it was a very good day for West Ham and a very good start to the Barclay's Premier League. We're so delighted to be back and even more delighted now we've got off to a winning start.
I know it's a bit left-field but there's been a lot said about the Olympics whilst [Richard] Scudamore spoke about football needing to have a bit more of a responsible attitude. Do the players feel a responsibilty? There were no rucks today.
We can't always be angels on the field because of the emotion that the game brings, you know - but I think most times, 95 per cent of the time, we're very responsible. But when we do get ourselves into trouble it's going to be splashed across all sides of the media so it's something you try and control and we talk about.
Today was a very placid game in terms of collisons, dirty tackles, free kicks or fouls. Most of the Premier League has gone like that by the fact that we all coach to stay on our feet today; we don't really coach to tackle any more and I suppose that's brought about a game that's a lot cleaner. They're more niggly fouls than they are dirty.
[Mo] Diame was tremendous today?
Wait 'til you see him settled in, he'll be even better. Yes, I think we've got a nice footballer, an all-round talented midfield player. He's got the biggest smile you've ever seen in your life, he loves football, he is happy to be here and extend his ability with us. He can only be a major bonus for us.
His energy levels were incredible today?
Yeah, and under such extreme heat today. Both teams had to suffer playing under extreme heat today but I thought we mastered it better than them in the end. They faded away and we continued right the way through to the end.
It's not an easy task playing any game in the Premier League when you're first back. I know we've only been out for a season but when you're first back you've got a few anxieties, you don't quite know if your team will be right or wrong or whether they'll be able to cope.
We found it difficult at the start to get any emotion into the game because Aston Villa were just keeping the ball. When we overcame that and started winning the ball back - started to assert a little bit of pressure on the defence - we saw one or two weaknesses there and in the end we exposed it and won the game.
It's only one game but especially as a newly promoted team, how important is it to get off to a new start?
Well it's everything, you know. Good starts are the basis for securing a Premier League position as early as possible. I've had some good starts and I've had some poor starts [at previous clubs] and a poor start has caused so much pressure on the players that we've barely got out of the bottom three until Boxing Day. It took that long.
Then, once we got out of it we stayed out of it - but we started the season poorly and stayed in the bottom three [for a while]. We were six points adrift from fourth from bottom, then eight points adrift and to make it up took a whole two to three months.
Was that at Bolton?
Yeah, second season. First season we got 15 points in ten games and even then we we had a sticky spell. But we only entered the bottom three twice in the entire season.
A good start means the pressure is off the players and they'll enjoy playing in the Barclays Premier League more. That's the important side of trying to say to the players: "Hit the ground running, hit the ground at 100 per cent - that's your responsibility. We might get caught up later on in the season but if we've got the points in the bag, that's the most important thing."
Another of your new signings, James Collins, was fantastic today?
Yeah. Ginge got a great reception from the West Ham fans here which was nice for him. Both he and Winston Reid did a sound, solid job on one of the most lethal goalscorers in this division, Darren Bent. Did he have a shot at goal today?
No. Three touches!
No. So you've got to give them credit for that. Well he can have three touches and score two, Darren Bent, by the way!
You said in the first half your players were a bit tentative. Do you think that was because last season the team made some silly mistakes which you were very vocal and unhappy about that?
I think there was just a little bit of anxiety about playing again here. What was it going to be like, what were Aston Villa going to be like?
Of course, the opposition keeping the ball and making it difficult - even though they weren't causing us any problems, they were keeping the ball but without really getting anwhere - meant we couldn't get the ball and couldn't get the atmosphere up, couldn't get the crowd on the edge of their seats. We couldn't create an atmosphere that might imtimidate the opposition.
Eventually we overcame that and started to do it. Like, I said a lot of the problems today were heat-related but in the end, the game always lasts over 90 minutes - and over 90 minutes we mastered it better than them.
Kevin Nolan has scored so many incisive goals for you down the years. The fact that he scored for you in your first Premier League game at Bolton...
Did he? Well you've got a better memory than me! [laughs]
Yes. But he is a goalscorer, isn't he. A lot of the people in the game of football say although he's a midfield player he's not a creative midfield player. Kevin is a David Platt; he gets on the end of things and ghosts into the box without people knowing how he's got there.
You saw Kevin Nolan get there today; he got there out of instinct, he got there out of the fact that he's took the chance. If he gets himself in those areas he can get himself a goal. While the rest of the players are standing watching, he's on the move. Then, the ball gets popped along and he pops it in the back of the net.
That's what he's all about. He's a quality finisher in the box, he's as good as any Premier League forward at finishing in the box. That's his outstanding quality which had been proven over many, many years in the Premier League.
Was it a gamble to play him today?
It was a little bit, because he's missed a lot of training. But he's my captain, he's got grit and determination written all over him and he 's got the desire. He pushes himself through the pain barrier; he knew he wasn't quite 100 per cent today but he extended his body to near exhaustion.
That's gong to be really good for his and the rest of the lads' fitness. Now it'll be about their recovery, keeping a nice steady flow to training and improving on what we did today. We go to what's going to be a very difficult game at Swansea next week. What a fantastic start they've got off to, 5-0 at QPR.
You've stated that you're still a few players short of a full squad. So a busy next two weeks ahead?
Always, yeah. On the phone, on the email. I don't lose my keys and I don't lose my phone at the moment, because I can't afford to!
Thank you lads.
Sam signs [11th May 2013]
Thanks for the memories [8th May 2013]
Oops! Allardyce's live TV gaffe [6th May 2013]
McDonald on... Newcastle Utd [5th May 2013]
West Ham Utd 0-0 Newcastle Utd [4th May 2013]
Ravel set for second loan spell? [4th May 2013]
West Ham Utd v Newcastle Utd: live [4th May 2013]
Reid signs two-year extension [30th Apr 2013]
Raz ready to ratify West Ham move [30th Apr 2013]
by Bob T
11:35AM 19th Aug 2012
''A great start from Sam and the boys. ''
comments powered by Disqus