Sam Allardyce admitted the better team had won in West Ham United's 3-1 home defeat by Newcastle United.

The manager watched his team start well before falling behind to two goals by Yohan Cabaye and Loic Remy. Carlton Cole forced Mike Williamson to put through his own net on the stroke of half-time to give the Hammers hope. West Ham went on the front foot after the break, only for Cole and substitute Andy Carroll to miss presentable opportunities to equalise before Cabaye's last-gasp free-kick rubbed salt into the wounds.

To add injury to insult, Big Sam was also forced to re-jig his starting XI after George McCartney was ruled out hours before kick-off with a recurrence of the neck injury he suffered at Cardiff City last weekend.

Read Stewart Downing's reaction to Saturday's defeat

"It was lapses of concentration for their first two goals which cost us the game," said the manager. "We started the game very well up until they scored the first goal and then we got one back before half-time and that lifted us. We took that impetus into the second half and continued to push Newcastle back, got the chances but missed them, and it was as simple as that really.

"You are going to go behind in games and sometimes need to come from behind and we had the opportunity to get something, but unfortunately failed to do it in the end. By the time they scored the last goal, it was insignificant as it came in the last few seconds, but everything we tried in the second half came good apart from what we needed most, which was a finish on target to put the ball in the back of the net.

"From all the opportunities we created, we didn't do that and, because of that, we didn't get the goal we were looking for to get something out of the game."

The manager was asked what his reaction was to the result in terms of whether or not he was pleased with the performance of a team without Winston Reid, James Tomkins, Kevin Nolan, Ricardo Vaz Te, Guy Demel, George McCartney, Joey O'Brien and, from the start, Andy Carroll.

"I think, at the end of the day, I've got to look at it overall and say that the lads are trying hard. At times, they get a little bit nervous and you could see their confidence had drained at 2-0 down, but you've got to be big enough to stand up and drive yourself on.

"I thought the response after half-time was very, very good. If you look at Newcastle's squad and size of it and the money they've spent on it, coupled with the players we're without at the minute, we're a long way behind in talent terms to Newcastle United.

"Until we establish ourselves for longer in the Premier League and find more and more quality players, we are getting the best out of the players we have got. At the minute, it's not good enough to get consistent results, but we are trying our hardest and our best and had a real opportunity to get something.

"We created lots of chances and the gulf in spending didn't show in the second half on the field, which was very pleasing. At the end of the day is that we need to get back to the defensive solidity we showed earlier this season, because you can see what that is bringing Crystal Palace at the moment. Tony Pulis has said it won't be easy to beat Crystal Palace and, if you beat them at the minute, it's only by one goal.

"If you do that, you end up with the one-nil wins we should have had earlier in the season when we had all those clean sheets. However, we can't get back to that until all our defenders get back fit."

Yet again, the manager was forced to shuffle his pack when McCartney was forced to pull out with a neck injury, adding to the long list of absentees he has seemingly had to deal with all season long.

"For the last two months or so, every corner we turn around, there is another obstacle causing us problems in terms of the selection process. It was hard enought last week at Cardiff to get a result with James getting sent-off and Guy getting carried off, then we got in on Saturday and George couldn't play due to the neck injury he suffered last week and hadn't recovered from.

"It's difficult at the minute but one, we've got to be patient and wait for those players to come back and two, we have got Ravel Morrison, Kevin, Ginge and James back now and all of the players have a duty to give their best between now and the end of the season.

"If we get any additions in on top of what we have, then that will make us a strong enough squad to get out of the situation we're in at the moment."

On the subject of transfers, Big Sam revealed that the Club missed out on signing a new player on Friday.

"I was convinced that we had one on Friday. I went out of my way and interrupted my training to make sure it got done, only for the selling club to say they aren't going to let him come to us now because another club has come in.

"We will fight and fight on both fronts, both on the field and to get new players in. The Chairman is trying as hard as possible to get players to put on the pitch and get better results.

"Cardiff was now a brief moment of hope and relief, but now we're back in where we don't want to be. We wanted to stay out of the bottom three but we haven't done that, so we have to make sure we get out of it as quickly as we can."