West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce was justifiably happy following the Hammers' 1-0 Barclays Premier League opening-day win over Aston Villa.

The Boleyn Ground was rocking before, during and after a game that was settled by Kevin Nolan's 40th-minute goal. In truth, West Ham could have won by a more comfortable margin had debutant Modibo Maiga not had his effort saved by a miraculous goalline clearance.

Big Sam told West Ham TV of his pride at earning a victory over an established top-flight side in uncomfortably hot conditions.

"It was a pretty low-key start due to two things - Villa were just intent on keeping the ball and not really going anywhere with it and the weather. It was so hot that it made it difficult to continue the sort of pressure that you would do if it was a much cooler day.

"We had to be patient and then we built our way into the game and grew into the game, if you like, and once we started we finding a quality of pass then we started putting pressure on Aston Villa from corners, free-kicks and final-third entries."

That growing pressure told when Mark Noble's free-kick hit an Aston Villa defender and fell to Ricardo Vaz Te, whose cut-back was converted by captain Nolan. The assistant referee initially flagged for offside, but referee Mike Dean was sure the ball had hit a defender and played Vaz Te onside. After a short conversation with his colleague, Dean gave the goal.

"In the end, they cracked and the referee made a huge decision for us - which was the right decision - by not allowing the goal to be scrubbed out for offside. The ball came off the Villa defender and not a West Ham player. The linesman had flagged and the referee ignored that flag and gave the goal, which was the right decision.

"We got better as the second half went on and started getting more of the ball and started probing Aston Villa and we created some good opportunities. Coley should have had a penalty after half-time, Kevin Nolan had a shot inside the box and then cool-hand Maiga rounded the goalkeeper with ease and we all thought he would put it into the net for 2-0 but up popped the Villa defender to block it which was a great shame.

"It's a great day for us and a great result and one that we fully deserved."

It took West Ham six matches to record a victory in their most-recent Barclays Premier League campaign in 2010/11, leaving the Hammers playing a game of catch-up they never managed to win. This time around, they will start the week in the top half of the table.

Naturally, the manager was delighted that his side showed the belief, fitness and maturity to close the game out in temperatures of 85 degrees.

"There was actually more energy expended than in a normal game. Because of the drain of fluid and the heat, the body starts shutting down more quickly than it normally would. The players lost three or four kilos during the game, even though they were topping up on fluids before, during and afterwards.

"It shows the extent of the energy they had to expend to win the game and in the end our fitness told. We looked a little fitter than Aston Villa and saw the game out better and could have won it by more in the end."

Finally, Big Sam was happy with the contributions of his goalkeeper and defenders, who kept a clean sheet on the back of outstanding displays from Man of the Match James Collins and WInston Reid.

"There was some good solid defending. A goalscorer with a great reputation in Darren Bent was snuffed out of the game by Winston and James effectively well. It didn't matter how well people were playing because if you let Bent have a chance he'll score at any stage - they didn't even give him a chance to day.

"They gave us the perfect platform from which to win this game."

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