Monday 20 November 2017

Allardyce trying to roll with punches after 'fatigued' team take hammering

West Brom 4 West Ham Utd 0

West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce reacts during his side's FA Cup fifth round match at The Hawthorns
West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce reacts during his side's FA Cup fifth round match at The Hawthorns
Brown Ideye scores West Brom's third goal
Brown Ideye celebrates scoring West Brom's opening goal
West Brom's James Morrison celebrates scoring their second goal
West Ham United's Carlton Cole, Mark Noble and Cheikhou Kouyate dejected at the end of the game

Daniel Johnson

Sam Allardyce has thick enough skin by now, after the trials and tribulations of managing for 15 years in the top flight, but the vicious response from the travelling West Ham United faithful must have taken him by surprise.

Admittedly, his side were dismal at the Hawthorns. They offered precious little in attack, imploded with Morgan Amalfitano's ridiculous sending-off, and conceded four goals - two by the dramatically improving Brown Ideye, and fine efforts by James Morrison and Saido Berahino - without offering much in the way of resistance.

It was a "shameful" defeat, their goalkeeper Adrian conceded. And this in a competition Allardyce and West Ham had earmarked as their great opportunity.

But some perspective from the travelling fans might have been in order. Instead, the travelling 6,500 who filled the away end despite major accidents on motorways, one of which reportedly took the lives of three West Ham supporters, booed Kevin Nolan, the captain of four years, and then jeered Allardyce's substitutions, interspersed with the occasional "F**k off Sam Allardyce" chant.

Allardyce (60) must be wondering what he has to do to truly win the affection of the West Ham fans. After nearly losing his job in the summer, he has guided his side to eighth in the Premier League. They have lost just two of their past 10 games. And their draw against Manchester United showed that Allardyce has gone some way to improving their playing style.

Allardyce simply has to roll with the punches. "You do your job professionally," he said. "When they are happy they cheer you and applaud and say how well you have done. When they are not happy then they show their disappointment. It's the same all over the country.

"It's my job to get the players out on the field, hopefully entertain them and win as much as we possibly can which is what we have done for 85-90 per cent of this season.

" The disappointment about this is it's a Cup game and we're out. We will just have to try to finish the season as strongly as we can."

With his contract expiring at the end of the season, the booing is a bad omen both for the club and for Allardyce's willingness to continue at Upton Park.

There were also some worrying signs from the board which nearly jettisoned Allardyce last summer and insisted he adopt a more attractive and attacking approach.

David Sullivan, the joint chairman, left the Hawthorns early, like most of the supporters. David Gold, his co chairman, even apologised on Twitter.

"A disappointing performance today," he wrote. "I feel sorry for myself but most of all I feel sorry the thousands of travelling fans."

Allardyce blamed fatigue and a congested fixture list for his team's performance. He also claimed that was the explanation for the many scalps in the FA Cup so far.

Meanwhile, West Brom manager, Tony Pulis has backed Nigerian striker Brown Ideye to continue his form after he scored twice to help the Baggies into the sixth round for the first time in seven years.

James Morrison and Saido Berahino also found the net, but it was Ideye who earned most of the plaudits.

"It's confidence - that's all it is," Pulis said after the striker took his tally to four goals in three matches.

"Confidence is everything. He got that goal last week (at Burnley) and has gone on.

"We're delighted. You could not work with a nicer guy. He has been desperate to do well and it is smashing to see him enjoying the fruits of his labours."

Pulis is now hoping for a good draw and a packed house should they get a home tie. "It's the draw," he said. "We need a slice of luck.

"We need a home game If we get that, the people who were here today will come back and the place will be packed." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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