Hammers draw blank
West Ham 0 Sunderland 0
West Ham boss Sam Allardyce was left frustrated as his side failed to beat bottom club Sunderland, but moved to defend the summer signing of Andy Carroll.
Club-record signing Carroll may have been the sort of individual who could have turned yesterday's 0-0 draw against Sunderland in West Ham's favour, but the England international remains sidelined with the heel injury which has kept him out of the team since August.
West Ham's co-chairman David Sullivan suggested in an interview with Football Focus that he would not have sanctioned a big-money move for the 24-year-old if he had been aware of how long his absence would have lasted.
"We have got to get Andy fit and Andy has got to do what he did for us last season. It is not his fault he is injured -- we have just got to get him fit and keep him fit," Allardyce said.
The Hammer boss admitted there was a little bit of nervousness creeping into his squad and that they lacked an injection of class which would have turned a timid performance into a crucial victory: "There is a little bit too much edge in our game," he said.
Allardyce's Sunderland counterpart Gus Poyet believes he has finally seen a Black Cats team with his identity stamped on it as they created the better of the game's chances.
The visitors were in the ascendancy for much of the game at Upton Park, with Phil Bardsley's long-range effort coming back off the woodwork the closest either side came to finding a winner.
"I would like to say that we didn't look like the worst team in the Premier league today but somehow it is not enough," Poyet said.
"There are different feelings. I'm very upset because we didn't win but for the first time proper this was my team."
The draw means West Ham remain in the relegation fight, lying just one point above Crystal Palace and Fulham who, along with Sunderland, occupy the bottom three places in the Premier League.