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Allardyce on... Arsenal

Filed: Monday, 8th October 2012
By: Staff Writer

Sam Allardyce feels - with some justification - that his team were hard done by against Arsenal in the weekend's big London derby. His full post-match press conference exclusively in full for you here on KUMB...

Sam: You gave it a good go today and you caused them problems?

Yes. The clinical thing for us was defending properly in the early part of the game because it was difficult to get the ball off of Arsenal - but our defending as a team and a unit was excellent which allowed us to frustrate them. Yes, they had great possession but in terms of chances created, or shots at goal, they were very few and far between of course.

For Mo [Diame] to get us off to that wonderful start with that brilliant piece of skill from our first real sustained attack was brilliant. I was just hoping we'd get in [to half time] at 1-0 - but we didn't. It shows you that when we didn't have that protection and we made that little mistake how the much the opposition, when they're as good as they are, can punish you.

Mo looks like he's going to be in good possession on the half-way line. He pops it off, the Arsenal player picks it up and they've scored within a whisker. 1-1 wasn't bad at all considering; I wanted to really test Arsenal's defence and we did that. But because we didn't score when we did test it they punished us in the end.

Obviously the second goal was a killer because we were in a fantastic position to create another chance to score at that stage. Because we picked out the wrong pass all of a sudden the opposition go from one end of the pitch to the other, we've opened ourselves up to try and get in front and they've severely punished us yet again.

Between that, Kevin Nolan had a couple of great chances and also Andy Carroll when he out-jumped the 'keeper. That could have dropped in the back of the net, but it didn't. Then [Santi] Cazorla scored a wonder-goal and that was the end of it. We tried our best, it wasn't quite good enough - but we're pleased with our performance. Just perhaps a little disappointed we didn't get a draw.

Carroll was a handful but he looked fit. Was he okay?

He's okay, he's fine. We didn't want to play him for 90 minutes because he's only just come back from that spell out injured and hasn't played that much.

Unfortunately, our injury plight worsened as the game progressed which is a little worrying because we picked up injuries against QPR and we got three more today. Winston Reid was struggling badly with sciatica, back spasm - but we'd used all of our subs; Guy Demel came off with a thigh and [Ricardo] Vaz Te with a dislocated shoulder. So we're disappointed with the result and disappointed with those injuries that we've picked up - but I'm not disappointed with the lads' application and performance.

Will Ricardo be long term or do you think he'll be alright after the [international] break?

No, he won't be alright; it'll be six to 12 weeks depending on how [bad it is]. We can't get it back [in place], he's going to have to go to hospital to have an anaesthetic to slot the shoulder back in the socket. Then the specialist will determine how long it takes to sort that out.

It's a bit of a shame but we all suffer injuries. We just have to use the squad that we've got and make sure we don't pick any more injuries up on international duty. I think if we keep performing like we have, here at West Ham particularly, we'll give ourselves a great chance of beating Southampton and get back to winning ways.

[Question from Matt Law of the Sunday Mirror] There was some pretty nasty abuse for Arsene Wenger; would you rather not hear that from your fans?

From..? I didn't hear it to be honest. I was obviously concentrating on the game, I'm not sure what the fans were saying. But if they are, it's not right.

It seemed as if Theo Walcott made the difference coming on there today. Wenger descirbed his goal as "the killer goal". Is that fair comment?

Yeah. Like I said, if you look back to what we were doing at that time we were threatening Arsenal and they were on the back foot. Mo Diame flicked a little ball in behind [Carl] Jenkinson and got in down the left-hand side, their right. He's free just outside the box and what we wanted him to do was either the same thing as he did in the first half - have a shot and score - or smash it across the middle of the defenders and the goalkeeper like they did for their first goal.

But he scuffed it, it hit an Arsenal player and dropped down. The first pass goes off and you can see from where I am, we've opened ourselves up so much because we've loaded the box to try and score. With Theo Walcott's pace, you're not going to stop him, are you?

It's a good goal from their point of view; they've exploited the space brilliantly in the space of just a few seconds with their quality and pace. It's just a great shame that we didn't make more of our opportunity. It was sort of a double-punishment if you like; we didn't take advantage of our great opportunity there and they won the ball back and scored at the other end.

You can see why he [Walcott] wants to be a centre forward so much from that finish, would you say?

[shrugs shoulders] [laughs] It's not for me to tell Arsene Wenger what to do or not what to do! It's obviously a problem for Arsene and for Theo to sort out - not me.

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