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Allardyce on... Manchester United

Filed: Sunday, 23rd March 2014
By: Staff Writer

The supporters aren't the only ones beginning to look back over their shoulders at the chasing pack following a third successive defeat. Sam Allardyce explained why he's concerned too in his post-match press conference, which we bring you in full below...

Sam: I think the goals knocked the stuffing out of the team to a certain extent?

I think you're right, up until the end of the first half. We tried our best at the start of the second half, especially the first 15 minutes, but when Man United are 2-0 up they can sit back and defend what they've already got. We found that really difficult to break down and couldn't really open up the opportunity to score a goal, get back in the game and get something out of it.

Such a wonderful goal from Wayne Rooney so early on was a bit of a sickener - and I thought it was a blatant foul on James Tomkins who was easily going to head the ball away. Rooney took him off his balance when he jumped so he missed the header so technically the referee's made a big error, in the end, as far as I'm concerned because the opposition have scored from that error.

Then we pushed on and tried to get back in the game. It changes in split seconds; we could have had a penalty, the ball's come back in the box and Kevin [Nolan's] looking to try and strike the ball at goal but Fletcher gets across him. Then they go up the other end, Mark Noble mis-controls and mis-kicks his clearance straight to Wayne Rooney and what might have been a penalty with us getting back to 1-1 leaves us 2-0 down instead.

As hard as we tried in the second half we couldn't find a way through and in the end we're obviously disappointed we've lost. Having won the last three games at home here we felt confident today that we might get something if we played our best, but it didn't happen.

I know you felt it was a foul but nobody expected Wayne Rooney to go and do that?

Nobody expected Rooney to do that, not even David Moyes, but when he did it was brilliant.

Are you disappointed that the team didn't show more in the second half?

No. We couldn't have shown much more because we had more possession than them, put more crosses in the box than them, created more attempts at goal that them. Unfortunately we didn't create any clear-cut chances though, so our cutting edge wasn't quite good enough.

Are you disappointed that they had a make-shift defence but you didn't really get on top of them?

We after you've got a 2-0 lead you can sit [deep] like they did, with two banks of four and just protect what you've got. We took the game to them to try and get the goal that would get us back to 1-1, but they defended well and hit us on the counter attack for a second.

It's a shame, but the defining moments in the game went their way today with the referee's help and by a hugely-talented player who scored one of the best goals you'll see this season. We have to accept that Manchester United were better than we were today, as is often the case when you play them.

How big does that result make the next two games against Hull and Sunderland?

They're massive games because we've got 31 points after 30 games. My instruction to the lads is to always make sure you keep your points total ahead of your games total.

When we had that run of games where we won four on the trot we put a lot of points between our games total. Now we've lost three on the trot and are back to being just one point ahead of our games total, so we've got to try and make sure we make it 31 games and 34 points on Wednesday night.

Thank you.

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