Sam Allardyce will use the international break to try and right the wrongs of West Ham United's 1-0 defeat to Stoke City on Saturday.

After three encouraging results to kick off the 2013/14 season, the Hammers suffered their first loss of the new campaign courtesy of Jermaine Pennant's fine second-half free kick. With international football now taking centre stage for the next ten days, Big Sam will have an opportunity to regroup his squad and ensure they are firing for the trip to Southampton on Sunday 15 September.

"We were establishing ourselves in the Premier League and sometimes you've got to accept that the lads will dip off but what I don't accept was it happening like the lads did on Saturday, not at home," he said.

"To play a game for 90 minutes, which we were never really in, that's the disappointing thing for me. Hopefully the players will take it on the chin and bounce back, which is what we were really good at last year after really disappointing performances. We've got to lift the performance level back up for when we play Southampton."

A trip to Spain to face Espanyol on Thursday will provide an opportunity to experiment with personnel and fine tune strategy, but one player that will not feature in the game is Andy Carroll, who will remain in England to work on his fitness. Big Sam said he hoped the England international would be back in time for the trip for Southampton, while the hamstring injury that kept out Joe Cole on Saturday will be assessed on Monday.

"Andy will be close for the Southampton game but it's unlikely he'll be able to start," he said. "Modibo didn't have the best game on Saturday, but against Cardiff and Newcastle he played well. It wasn't just him who didn't play well though, apart from the back four and the goalie who did their jobs the front six were decidedly average."

The transfer window closes at midnight on Monday, but Allardyce does not expect to see the same flurry of last-minute activity as last summer, when three players arrived in the last seven days. He reiterated once again, though, that any incomings are dependent on players leaving the club.

"I was much more nervous about the end of the window last year because we bought three players in and you saw the contribution those three players made, particularly Matt Jarvis and Andy Carroll who were a big factor in us finishing tenth in the league.

"We're not quite that desperate now, but because we've had a disappointing performance and result people will say we should go out and strengthen.

"We know how well we can play and we know how disappointed we are that we haven't played as well as that against Stoke. With the additions of Razvan Rat, Adrian in goal and Stewart Downing to the squad, a few of the first team squad from last year have left but the vast majority of this squad finished tenth last year so that's our capabilities. We have to make sure we don't perform like we did on Saturday again."