Big Sam hails Coventry comeback

Sam Allardyce had high praise for the "outstanding support" that contributed fully to the Hammers coming from behind to win 2-1 at Coventry City.

The Hammers had around 6,500 fans cheering them on at the Ricoh Arena, but the first half was one of disappointment as Clive Platt put the home side in front. Big Sam changed things around at half-time, bringing on Carlton Cole and he was to restore parity. Frederic Piquionne was the next to be introduced and he forced the winner off his knee to seal a memorable comeback.

"It is a satisfying afternoon," the manager said. "It is a great result to come back having gone a goal down at half-time. It is the first time we have shown this type of character.

"We were disappointed in our performance in the first half but we did something about it. Me by changing the system [from 4-3-3 to 4-4-2] and the players by performing better. They exerted pressure on Coventry which ended up paying off for us."

That makes it four wins and a draw from the last five matches, and the margin of victory could have been greater had Jack Collison not skied an open goal in added time. "I don't know how Jack missed that," the manager added with a smile.

With the Hammers secure in second place, five points behind leaders Southampton, the manager was quick to praise the contribution of the travelling fans at every turn in his post-match analysis.

"The win gave the outstanding supporters something to cheer. It was even better for us to score both goals at their end. They made a real atmosphere for us today and the lads knew they didn't want to let the fans down or themselves down.

"They have come storming through, shown their quality and demonstrated why we are in the position we are in."

The manager admitted it looked a long way from being a day of celebration after the first 45 minutes when Coventry held the advantage. "I thought Coventry were very good in the first half particularly and the lads didn't really perform as well as we know they can in that period in terms of possession.

"Defensively we were OK but Coventry were dominating the ball most of the time. They scored a very good goal indeed.

"We changed it around at half-time. We changed the system and I think once we put Frederic Piquionne and Carlton Cole on, the game changed in our favour.

"We started to create more and more and I thought it was only a matter of time before scored. In the end we carried on creating chances. It was a satisfying 45 minutes and was because I have such a strong squad - not in numbers but in terms of quality. We had talented players to come on and change the game in our favour. "

While the manager jokily called himself a "master tactician" for introducing Cole, he was serious when acknowledging the form of his No9, having also seen him change the game at Hull City a fortnight ago. "Certainly with these performances he is warranting the starting position again," he admitted.

"It was a really good and happy dressing room. It is another three points towards our target. For only the second time we are where we want to be, 17 points from 34 games is two points a game. That gets you automatic promotion.

"We are right on the brink of our busiest period, no more international breaks and the games will come thick and fast. Having the squad fit again and having this result means that last two-week break came at the right time. More of our injured players are getting fit and that should hopefully stand us in good stead going into a more ferocious fixture list."