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Allardyce on... Southampton

Filed: Sunday, 21st October 2012
By: Staff Writer

Sam Allardyce was delighted with an emphatic victory against an impotent Southampton side - but admitted that backsides needed to be kicked before the three points were secured. Big Sam's full press conference entirely in full exclusively here for you on KUMB.com...

You must be on a high, Sam, after a win like that?

I'm surprised that we won 4-1 if you look at what we did in the fist half. The good thing for me is the professionalism of the players who took a bit of criticism at half time for what was a bit of a lacklustre performance.

The only good thing we did was that we didn't really allow Southampton any chances in the first half. We just weren't playing well enough and if were to overcome them we would have to play a lot better. We had to do that by upping the tempo and showing the sort of desire that we showed against Arsenal, Fulham, Sunderland and Aston Villa.

We did that in the second half, giving that type of performance and scoring the goals. The timing was brilliant; we went out, got right at them and scored two very quick goals and, in the end, [secured] a fantastic 4-1 victory. So we can forget the first half now, enjoy the victory and focus on the positives of how we turned the game around when we looked like we were struggling.

In fact we didn't just look like it, we were struggling - but then we came out in the second half and put it right - and not only put it right by winning the game but by winning the game comfortably. Scoring four goals against any side in the Premier League is no mean feat and 4-1 is a brilliant result for us.

You said the players took a bit of criticism at half time. Is that management speak for you gave them an old-fashioned [bollocking]?

We had to look at ourselves and say "we're just not doing our job properly" - apart from our defending which was ok. We weren't passing it well enough, we weren't mixing our play up enough, we weren't giving the right sort of quality to the front lads and we weren't sustaining any pressure on the opposition.

I told them that if they could do that, Southampton are struggling confidence-wise as they've only picked up four points. They've scored plenty of goals but they'd conceded 20 so if we put pressure on the back four they will make mistakes. They did that and we capitalised on it.

I'm really pleased about the last goal - the quality of it first and foremost and also for Maribo scoring it. He scored in the international break [for Mali] again, he scored against Wigan in the Capital One Cup and he's scored a fabulous goal here today which gives him a huge amount of confidence.

We had six senior players injured today, three kids on the bench and players - like James Tomkins at right back - playing out of position. We also had squad players coming in and doing a great job - Yossi Benayoun for the second goal particularly - and in the end, it's just a fantastic victory.

The first goal was perhaps fortunate with the manner in which it went in?

You can say it's slightly fortunate because it goes straight in without a touch on it, but it's a quality ball. Because of the quality of the delivery it gets you a goal. We always practice to hit the target when we get those free-kicks, on that basis.

When the goalkeeper's faced with up to ten players running at him - five of theirs and five of ours trying to get on the end of it - by the time the ball goes over every player's head they are only about six yards out. If nobody touches it it goes straight in the far post; there's nothing the goalkeeper can do.

You couldn't criticise the 'keeper at all for that. But the quality of the ball got the goal. Yes, it was slightly fortunate because nobody got a touch but things like that turn games - and it turned the game in our favour.

Andy Carroll was involved heavily; he won the free-kick for the first goal plus the hand-ball for the penalty?

When you constantly put central defenders under pressure they crack in the end, don't they? Andy was an asbolute pain in the backside for the two centre halfs all day and they've ended up fighting him and fouling him to try and contain him - and we capitalised on that.

He got hit in the first half by Jose Fonte; did you see that? The elbow?

I saw it, but the referee didn't.

What did you make of it?

Well he led with the arm; whether it was intentional or not I don't know. I'm more disappointed that the referee didn't even give a free kick.

But like I said, in the end we've come out with a great result and, importantly, without any more injuries. We've already got six senior players out. Eight games and 14 points is a massive total for a newly-promoted team and represents a brilliant start to the season for the lads. I know we've only played Arsenal of the top eight, but you've still got to win them.

That brings you to the next run of fixtures - I think it's seven against the top 10?

We're focused on Wigan away now. We'll say to the players that our last away game was at Queens Park Rangers and it was a terrific performance and a well-deserved victory. Can we go and produce our first back-to-back wins in the Premier League?

When you've won a game, to go and win the next one is a massive ask. If you can do it, it makes a huge amount of difference. So we're going to try and go back-to-back for the first time, that's our aim. Wigan, I don't think have won at home this season so there might be a little bit of a lack of confidence in their team. If we go and perform like we know we can that might give us the chance to get back-to-back wins.

One of your lads chose not to wear a Kick It Out t-shirt today?

Yeah - because we ran out of t-shirts.

Why was that then?

We didn't have enough. We had to give them to the referees because they didn't bring theirs.

I'm just keen to know whether the lad decided to make a stand?

Not as far as I'm aware. Let's talk about football, eh?

But after the week football has had there's some black players who want to make a statement.

I can understand that but at the end of the day we've got to move on, play the game, enjoy what we do and what we're paid to do and entertain people. We can't keep going on about it. The statements have been made, let's move on. Let's hope it's worked and it continues to get better.

James Tomkins - did he catch himself on the pitch?

Cramp - because he hasn't played that much and you can lose your match fitness. Towards the end of the game you feel the pace that little bit more than the lads who play on a regular basis. His muscles cramped up so we whipped him straight off and put young Jordan [Spence] on. So no more serious injuries, which is extremely important for us based on the six injuries we've got at the moment.

Is it too early to start setting a target for your team?

We've achieved our first target with the considerable amount of points we've achieved in the first eight games from a group of fixtures that were not easy, but easier that what is coming up. We only had Arsenal [of the big teams] in the first eight and all the other games were against teams who will probably be in and around where we are this season.

We've done the job properly and accumulated 14 points from those eight games, so that gives us a huge gap between the bottom six and where we are. We know there's a very difficult period coming up where we may play eight games and not even get eight points, with the size of the teams that we're coming across, but the confidence that this start has given us means we may hopefully take a point or two out of those big boys.

Manchester United; Man City; Chelsea; Liverpool; Tottenham; it's frightening me already... [laughs]

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