Sam Allardyce was determined West Ham United would push for the points at Hull City on Saturday after the midweek frustration at home.
The Hammers enjoyed one of their best performances of the season against Bristol City on Tuesday but could not make their vast superiority count in front of goal. Undeterred, Big Sam believed the team would enjoy better fortune at the KC Stadium if they could match that level next time out.
The stats from the Bristol City game certainly backed the manager's words.
|Technical statistics||West Ham United||Bristol City|
|Time in possession %||60%||40%|
|Passes in play (Success %)||513 (82%)||287 (73%)|
|Forward passes (Success %)||200 (69%)||103 (52%)|
|Final third entries||158||63|
|Penalty area entries||66||21|
|Shots (on target)||23 (8)||15 (5)|
|Crosses in play||34||4|
|Aerial challenges won %||51%||49%|
|Ground challenges won %||63%||37%|
What surprised you most about Tuesday's game when you reviewed it?
SA: Not scoring three or four goals! That is the most disappointing and frustrating thing for everybody. There is no one more frustrated than ourselves. We know we dominated the game for such long periods of time and created so many chances. We come off on a nil-nil basis rather than winning comfortably. Sometimes that happens.
The league is very competitive isn't it?
SA: I sat and looked the results the day after we played and was shocked when I saw Leeds 0 Blackpool 5. Then I saw Derby 0 Cardiff 3. That is how amazing this league is. It is very difficult to predict what results are going to be. All I am pleased about after the frustration of only getting one point was the performance of the team.
The threat of the team was constant and I think that the review certainly went along with my opinion that it was the most sustained pressure we have put any team under this season, and the most chances we have created in any one game. Unfortunately for us it wasn't to be on the night. we were only left with a point. If we can emulate that performance at Hull City, I am sure we will score.
The back to back games against Leicester City and Brighton mirrored each other in terms of consistency of performance. Do you feel you are getting there now?
SA: Based on the difficult position we find ourselves in with the constant changing of the side because of the injuries that we have, the performances have been excellent. Players are stepping up to the mark who haven't played on a regular basis. They are going in the side and reproducing good performances along with good results. We are second in the league and we are wanting to not get too far away from Southampton.
How do you cope with the expectation on the team?
SA: We are under pressure constantly because we are expected to be where we are and probably better. We will live with that. We don't want to disappoint anyone on the season. That is what comes with being manager of West Ham United.
Were you surprised that Hull lost at Barnsley on Tuesday after their good run under Nigel Pearson?
SA: There are many surprises. It was a surprise that Nigel lost because they have got as good an away record as home. I am looking forward to seeing Nigel who I worked with closely for a short time at Newcastle.
He has done a really good job in difficult circumstances after the financial problems that Hull City have had. We look forward to seeing him. If we can get to the performance levels we showed on Tuesday and at Brighton, where we were resilient and our tactics were superb. We took one of only three chances in that game but couldn't take one of ten on Tuesday.
How is the squad looking?
SA: My real concern is still the injury problems. John Carew [knee] is getting a little better, Winston [Reid] will be out for a while with his dislocated shoulder. That leaves us short of numbers. Joey O'Brien was feeling his hamstring on Tuesday but we'd made our three substitutions and he couldn't come off. That is a little bit of a worry, the injury list. We will finalise the team on Friday and get off to Hull and see if we can continue our magnificent away results.
Do you think Hull will challenge this year?
SA: I don't' see why not. There will be this period where we are all finding out about each other and then it will be the Christmas period and whose squad can stand up the best. You come out the back end of the Christmas period into January and can strengthen your squad in the short window that we have got, then see where you go from there. A number of sides are going to be there or thereabouts right to the very last game. Probably everything won't get decided til then, both who is going to get promoted automatically and who will get in the Play-Offs.