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Allardyce on... Brighton & Hove Albion

Filed: Sunday, 15th April 2012
By: Staff Writer

Sam Allardyce reflects on his biggest win since joining West Ham, the club's biggest win since 1998 - and a win that keeps the Irons firmly in the hunt for automatic promotion, in the post-match press conference...

The club's biggest win in 14 years for West Ham, Sam. A good time to get it?

It is a good time to get it. Long overdue, isn't it? That's the problem. But there's nothing we could do about that coming into today's game, what we had to do was deliver a performance and more importantly we had to win three points no matter what.

To win them in such style is thrilling today for me, the team, the fans and for everybody at West Ham itself. It just gives everybody a little bit more belief that we still have a chance to do what we wanted to do from the start of the season. The goals and the performance we gave - a thrilling performance - has excited everybody that little bit more.

I'm glad about that, it should give us great confidence and hopefully clawing six goals back on Southampton could be a factor now. But everything about today's game was fantastic, from the very start right to the very end, of course. It was a well-deserved six-goal win; I don't think anybody could argue that we were worth any less than six by the way that we played and the chances we created.

What was the difference today?

I think it was a case of taking the second half performance against Birmingham - and probably the first half performance against Reading - into today's game and to stop the players making mistakes.

We said we will play in the opposition's half, we will not slow the game down and build up too slowly and let people get behind the ball. What we'll do is play good football in the opposition half when we get there - and that means that we won't get too edgy at the back and we won't commit too many unforced errors like we did against Reading and against Birmingham. People said to me Reading played really well, but they didn't. The only reasons they said they played really well is because they beat us.

Everything about what we did today was right and it was a total performance for 95 minutes, which is unusual. When Brighton got in the game, which we knew they would do at some stage, we snuffed them out, we choked them out - and then when we had the opportunity ,we finished them off. Like I said, I'm delighted for everybody today and now it's onto Tuesday night. Let's see if we can keep up this magnificent away record of winning and then see where we go from there. We're in the race still, we've put ourselves in a good position.

We always knew that somebody was going to lose points in last night's game. It was Southampton; the goal difference was nine [in their favour] and now it's only three so we've got a little bit extra today. The three points was everything that we needed and then we got a bonus because we've got closer to Southampton's goal difference.

Is the pressure on Southampton now, or do you still feel under pressure?

We still feel under pressure because we've got no margin of error. For us, there's none in terms of the next three football matches. From our point of view it's got to be three wins. All we can do is make sure we win on Tuesday and then we can all rush to see what the results are [elsewhere].

If anybody hasn't slipped up either on Tuesday or Wednesday, whenever they play, it still means we're not out of it. It just means we have go on and try and win the next one - and if somebody slips up then, we might take advantage of it. What we're trying to do is make sure that we've got something to play for [in terms of] automatic promotion come Hull City on the last game of the season.

Is the belief back now that you've ended the home run [without winning]?

In many ways, the performance the last time we won at home was just as good as this because we beat Millwall with ten men after eight minutes. It was outstanding. But the amount of victories that have eluded us here has just been so, so disappointing. [Had we not dropped so many points] we'd still be in the top two places but unfortunately we're not and we can't cry over that, it's come and it's gone.

We've blown it but we've given ourselves a chance. We're scoring lots of goals, we've scored 11 goals in three games now - four at Barnsley, three against Birmingham and six today... So my maths is crap! [laughs]

A few words on Vaz Te?

Outstanding. He was scintillating today and outstanding in the games before that. He scored 14 goals in all competitions before he joined us from Barnsley and what is it - eight or nine now? Ten? In ten starts. A hat-trick today as well, three great goals. The first one was a blistering thunderbolt that dipped and weaved and moved. People will look at the 'keeper on that but I don't think he had any chance with the power.

The header on the far post was over a defender, he made sure he was brave enough to head it in - and the overhead kick was the icing on the cake, It was the best piece of technique you'll see in both [top] leagues. They're still raving about the goal that Wayne Rooney scored against Liverpool; it was as good as that one.

Has he surpassed your expectations? Is he a better player than you realised?

Don't forget I had him at 16 at Bolton so I knew the talent was there, but you often see young players drift out of the game and abuse their talent. That's what we say in the game - "don't abuse your talent, son", because it's not just talent that makes you a top level professional footballer.

The only way he's become the talent that he has is because he's been down and left to ponder his career; whether he wanted to resurrect it, or whether he wanted to be another one of those talent-wasters. He went out [of the game] after Bolton; a knee injury didn't do him a lot of favours, to be fair, in his early stages. Which was sad, and he found that difficult to recover.

He got cast aside - I think he ended up in Greece for a year, in Scotland for a year and then he ended up at Barnsley. But once I'd had a look at him - and once I'd found out that he was in the last six months of his contract - I said to David Sullivan, "we've got to get this lad, I think he'll be great". And he has been - so let's hope he keeps it up.

Thank you lads.

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