Sam rues missed chances

Sam Allardyce could not hide the disappointment after seeing the season start with a 1-0 home defeat against Cardiff City.

Although Kenny Miller's added-time winner was against the run of play and came courtesy of a defensive lapse, Allardyce said his men paid the price for their profligacy throughout the 90 minutes. He counted 14 chances for the Hammers at a rain-sodden Boleyn Ground but while they were to be denied, Cardiff were to profit from what was probably the one lapse in concentration at the back for the home side.

"That's the biggest problem we saw today," he said. "Not burying a team when you are in the ascendancy and not finishing them off. Professional football then kicks you right where it hurts sometimes and today was exactly that."

Allardyce believed his men would learn a harsh lesson - that being to sometimes settle for what you have and regroup ready to go again next time. "We didn't get the clean sheet that we were looking for and we didn't get the win that we wanted.


"We should have at least come away with a point and said 'OK, we have created a lot of chances, we have made a lot of opportunities, we haven't converted them into three points which is what we wanted but we've started from a good solid defensive base today.'

"Unfortunately we get the slip at the end and we get punished heavily for that and we are all very disappointed that there is zero points from the first game of the season when we know we should have had three.

"We say to the players if you can't win a game of football, make sure you don't lose it. Tot the points up as they go along and you get enough at the end of the season to get yourself promoted. It is a big loss the point, never mind that we all know we should have had three."

Despite the result, Allardyce declared himself more than satisfied with the efforts and attitude of his men, with debutants Joey O'Brien, Kevin Nolan and man of the match Matt Taylor bedding in well to an eleven boasting England duo Robert Green and Scott Parker. 

"Overall the players are getting to know each other, new and old, and we have done everything we possibly could today apart from doing the clinical end. That has let us down. When we do the slip it shouldn't have mattered. We should have been two or three up."

The manager has signed John Carew, although admitted it would be two or three weeks before the big Norwegian could contribute to the claret and blue cause. Whoever leads the attack in the weeks to come, Allardyce is most concerned that his team can replicate the amount of chances created in Saturday's opener. If that is the case, the goals will come.

"We have had a bit of bad luck on the Freddie Piquionne finish that hit the post and on the header from James Tomkins that looked all the way in but got cleared off the line. The rest of the opportunities we had, today we weren't clinical enough to put one in the back of the net.

"That would have made life so much easier for us going into the back end of the game. What has happened is we are all trying to go and get the winner. We know we wanted it and we know we've deserved it but instead of saying 'woah just a minute, don't leave the back door open', we went and did do. Like I say, we've paid the ultimate price.

"A split second makes people's opinions different from the reality. But that's what you have to live with if you lose a game.

Really, overall we were very good and created much more than Cardiff. We were playing at home so I expected us to but what I wanted us to do if we couldn't win was make sure we don't lose. We didn't do that so there is no one more miserable than me."