'It doesn't get much better'

Sam Allardyce was full of praise for an "outstanding" team display as the Hammers racked up a 4-0 win away at Watford on Tuesday night.

Well-taken goals from James Tomkins, Joey O'Brien, Carlton Cole and Scott Parker saw off the Hornets at Vicarage Road and made it back to back away wins for the first time since December 2007. It was the perfect follow-up to the 1-0 weekend win at Doncaster Rovers and witnessed by a travelling army of nearly 4,000 supporters.

Once Tomkins scored with a towering header on three minutes, the visitors never looked back but Allardyce was keen to stress his players had to win the battle before they could switch on the cruise control.

"If you have got good footballers you play good football, don't you," he said, when asked about the way his team dominated the contest. "If you have got good footballers, we need to let them show their attributes, after they have earned the right to play. Once you get that right then you can go and play the kind of football we played in the second half."

The three points took the Hammers up to third in the fledgling npower Championship table, but more than the points on the board and the excitement building for Sunday's visit of Leeds United, the performance was what most energised the manager.


"It doesn't get much better than that. The pleasing thing for me is how we have won the game. There is no doubt that the quality of our goals, all four goals, was something to be admired. We withstood the early pressure from Watford and obviously the goal helped, but it was how we defended. We never let Watford get a sniff tonight."

Allardyce admitted that after the first couple of games he had wondered about his team's firepower, but he was left in no uncertain terms as the shots rained in, particularly after the break and it could have been more. That said, Robert Green was singled out for special mention for a key save from the lively Marvin Sordell when the Hammers held only a one-nil lead.

"We have seen some outstanding finishing tonight which we didn't see against Cardiff. We then had Kevin Nolan's goal against Doncaster but we had some sloppy finishing after that. We have got everything tonight. It is not often you see all the team playing at their best. I hope it can get better but i wouldn't have thought they can get much better."

The manager was also keen to afford a word or two for O'Brien, who surged forward from right-back to strike the "killer blow" on the stroke of half-time. "It was a wonderful run from a lad I have known for many years who everyone else has forgotten about. He has come to West Ham and that goal will do him the world of good, as it has for us.

"He is finally coming to terms with the fact he can be a top grade footballer again. Six months or 12 months ago, he thought his career was finished. He thought it was over before it had even started. Now look at him. He is so glad to be back, playing football and that is a great reward for all the effort he put in over pre-season."

There was also mention for Cole, who slid in the third after an unselfish pass from Herita Ilunga to mark his first start of the season in style. "I was very pleased with Carlton. I got performance in possession and I got good movement. A lot of our midfield play could go forward then off Carlton and then come back and go into wide areas. And then start creating and sliding little balls down the side."

Parker wrapped things up with a superb left-footed strike in added time, with an assist for Julien Faubert on his own first run-out of the campaign after a hamstring problem. The manager tipped all his men to build on the performance when they welcome Leeds, who themselves won 4-1 on Tuesday night against Hull City, on Sunday.

"For us to win two games on the trot is obviously thrilling and now the pressure comes on the players not to waste that effort they have put in and ability to gain six points away from home. To slip up again now against Leeds as we did against Cardiff [on the opening day] is something we do not want to do.

"We have really got to work on being patient and as skilful and as clinical as we were tonight. If we can do that against Leeds we are going to cause them lots of problems."

It remain to be seen if, by the weekend, the majestic Tomkins can overcome the hamstring niggle he suffered that led to Abdoulaye Faye's debut off the bench but the manager preferred to finish on the positives rather than the negatives.

"When you do what you do tonight confidence floods back and it flows into the players. They play football to win football matches and when they do that they are happy ... if you breed confidence, you breed a winning mentality. At this early stage of the season , I hope that has started already and that it continues."