Sam Allardyce said West Ham United's failure to hit the target cost them two points in Saturday's goalless Barclays Premier League draw with Aston Villa.

The Hammers unleashed 17 shots on Brad Guzan's goal, but only four of them tested the American, leaving Big Sam lamenting his players' inability to find the net.

At the other end, Villa threatened sporadically but ironically went closest to breaking the deadlock when Belgium striker Christian Benteke rattled the crossbar with a second-half header.

"Villa had one chance and that was Benteke's header," said Big Sam, "and our chances came and went because we didn't hit the target enough. When you have the chances and don't hit the target, people tend to forget them or dismiss them as not being chances. Several chances went begging for us to have done better, but they were either blocked, saved or we failed to hit the target.

"We put 38 balls into the opposition box and Villa had eight in our box in total, so that shows the dominating factors in our game. Basically, Villa in the final third got eight balls into our box and we had 38 and everybody's responsibility to score goals has deserted them at the minute.

"Our great ammunition last year in scoring and winning was everybody scoring and I don't think we had a player in our first 14 or 15 players who didn't score, other than Guy Demel. Joey O'Brien, James Tomkins, Winston Reid, James Collins, Mark Noble, Kevin Nolan, Matt Taylor, Carlton Cole, Andy Carroll, Ricardo Vaz Te and Matt Jarvis all chipped in with a goal when we needed them which meant we finished tenth.

"Kevin Nolan was our leading goalscorer with ten and that wouldn't normally get you tenth place, unless one other player scored at least ten or more, and we didn't. We only had Andy with seven, which showed how many goals we shared around the team. That goal-sharing has deserted us at the minute and that is the real reason why we're not on about 14 or 15 points.

"We've had six games when we haven't conceded a goal, which meant we only needed to score one goal to win the three points. We scored three at Tottenham and haven't scored a goal in any of the others [apart from Cardiff City] to get that lovely cushion of a three-point which we've richly deserved on several occasion but failed miserably. It's only been our fault, nobody else's."

When asked, Big Sam explained why he felt his team were not scoring enough goals.

"The quality of the creation of the chances, for one, but then on numbers created balls should drop down to someone who should finish them off. Occasionally, you want one to get you on your way through a fluke goal or a penalty or somebody scoring a free-kick.

"We wasted a free-kick [taken short by Mark Noble to Jack Collison] which just wasn't on, so that's the players' fault. You've got to assess all the free-kicks we practice every week and assess the right one to use at that particular time, depending on what the opposition do. We didn't do that, so we wasted it.

"We've got to pull one out of the bag somewhere, no matter how we do it, and make sure we get three points instead of one. We're OK in terms of performances, we've got too many injuries - as Villa had - and we've got to get them fit, and keep playing the way we are and keep believing we're going to turn the chances we're creating into goals and into victories.

"We did it at Tottenham - one of the hardest places to do it in the Premier League - so I demand we go and do it again at Norwich next week."

The feeling of disappointment comes at the end of a week when West Ham have actually kept three clean sheets in seven days, drawn at Swansea City and won a tricky Capital One Cup fourth-round tie at Burnley.

"Like everybody in the Premier League, visiting teams sit deep and make it hard for you to break them down. Villa are suffering the same and Swansea have only won once at home in ten matches, so there are many teams who have had problems similar to ours this season.

"Even if we had been determined enough defensively to draw two of the defeats we've had, we'd be on 12 points now. Victories don't always have to be the order of the day - it's making sure you don't lose - and if we had 12 points, we'd be sitting halfway up or just above and that keeps the pressure off. Even at this early stage, people talk about the relegation zone and area and if we had drawn two more games we'd be much better off.

"We haven't but on a positive we have got a result against Villa and, after three defeats that's pretty big from our point of view, even if it is disappointing from our point of view that we didn't win it. At least we have stopped the run of defeats at the Boleyn Ground, which was very important to do."

West Ham go to Norwich City in their next Barclays Premier League game, with the Canaries having lost 4-0 at Manchester United in the Capital One Cup and 7-0 at Manchester City on Saturday. Despite those results, Big Sam is not expecting an easy afternoon at Carrow Road.

"Those results will make no difference to next Saturday whatsoever. It will be about us finding our best form to beat Norwich. I thought they were hugely unlucky not to win their last home league game [against Cardiff] listening to it on Sky Sports Soccer Saturday, where it went to Norwich missing this chance and that chance here, there and everywhere.

"I watched Norwich versus Aston Villa and Norwich absolutely pelted them, but Villa won 1-0. Norwich are suffering the same problems as we are - good performances and creating chances, but our difference is that we're absolutely brilliant at defending at the minute and Norwich aren't. We're suffering, but not suffering badly at the moment."