Sam Allardyce raised his glass to Andy Carroll after the striker's second-half header secured a welcome 1-0 Barclays Premier League win over Swansea City.

Having enjoyed a brandy at the close of the transfer window on Thursday, the manager admitted he planned to have a glass of red wine after the Hammers recorded their first victory since New Year's Day.

Big Sam's team were outstanding against the Capital One Cup finalists and would have won by a far wider margin had it not been for Swans goalkeeper Gerhard Tremmel and some loose finishing.


"It's just a pity it wasn't a bit more comfortable for us," said the manager. "We created some fantastic chances and you are always worried as a manager that any one slip, particularly against a team like Swansea who are relaxed and calm and cool, could see them nick one with someone like Michu on the pitch.

"We kept them really quiet from an attacking point of view, apart from a frantic last couple of minutes when they threw everything in the box. It's just a shame we weren't more comfortable because we kept everyone really nervous right until the very end with everybody biting their nails, but we got a well-deserved goal and a well-deserved victory.

"I don't think anyone can argue the fact that, with the amount of chances we created, we thoroughly deserved this victory. It's a big, big three points we have been waiting for and we've now got it in the bag and got to that 30-point mark in the league.

"We have played 25 games and we can try and push on from here at Aston Villa next Sunday now and see if we can get our away form a little bit better and take something before the break for the FA Cup fifth-round weekend."

Carroll was outstanding in every area, winning header after header at both ends of the pitch, holding the ball up superbly and creating chances for his team-mates - most notably Kevin Nolan, who had two shots well saved by Gerhard Tremmel.

"Andy and Kevin seem to have the knack of combining and linking together and getting chances. Andy scored from a set piece and we emphasised to the lads that Swansea had conceded 67 per cent of their goals from set pieces. Now it'll be up to 70 per cent.

"The corner has made all the difference and Andy's aerial power has put the ball in the back of the net and got us the three points that we so desperately needed."

The manager was pleased not only with his match-winner, but also with the way his whole team performed against a Swansea side which had conceded just nine goals in 12 previous away matches this season.

"Andy didn't look tired. Mo Diame looked dead on his legs near the end and he couldn't get around the pitch. Matt Jarvis played a full game at Fulham so we brought him off and put Joe Cole on and he put a fantastic ball in for Ricardo Vaz Te to nearly make it 2-0 just after we scored.

"We had a volley from Vaz across the goal and one from Mo that went just over the bar and their keeper made four fantastic saves. Kevin Nolan could have scored a couple of goals again. It was a really good performance. Swansea played a lot of neat football but didn't cause us any problems.

"There was a lot of good attacking football from us that created chances and that's what you want. Everyone will have gone home happy. It was another good performance at home, with the right result this time, and it'll settle everybody down.

Big Sam and his players now have eight days to prepare for a trip to Aston Villa next Sunday lunchtime, giving them a welcome chance to recover following the drama of a busy January on and off the pitch.

"Getting three points means I can sleep a bit easier now, never mind the players! What about me?! I'm glad that the phone is not ringing 60 or 70 times a day and my email isn't pinging. It's been unbelievable.

"We're just going into our fourth phase of eight games and we've started with three points in the bag, which makes a massive difference to the points total when you get off to a winning start.

"Now, I'm going to have a nice glass of red wine!"

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