Big Sam on Sunderland stalemate

Sam Allardyce reflected philosophically on Saturday's goalless Barclays Premier League draw with Sunderland at the Boleyn Ground.

West Ham United earned a point against the Black Cats thanks to another resilient defensive display that resulted in an eighth clean sheet in 16 league matches. However, the goalscoring issues that have plagued the season so far resurfaced as Big Sam was made to settle for a point rather than all three.

In truth, a draw was a fair reflection of a game in which both sides created chances, with Sunderland coming closest when Phil Bardsley saw his well-struck 25-yarder cannon back off the crossbar.

West Ham's best moments came after half-time. Ravel Morrison worked Vito Mannone in the visitors' goal, while Carlton Cole headed wide and George McCartney saw his late cross tipped over by the Italian goalkeeper.

Read our Sunderland Match Report now

"I think we got what we deserved from the game," Big Sam told West Ham TV. "Unfortunately, unlike we saw against Fulham two weeks ago, we didn't see the creative high-quality play in this game.

"When it becomes a dogged affair like it did here, you need to find one player to make the difference. We had our most creative players on the pitch who were available to play, but unfortunately they didn't find the creativity or the finish to get that one goal to get us a very precious three points.

"It wouldn't have mattered how we played - good, bad or indifferent - if we'd got the points, but we couldn't turn it around and find that bit of quality when needed. We ended up with a nil-nil.

"On the other side of it, our magnificent defence was there again and it's the backbone of our team. That's eight cleans sheets in 16 matches. We only got eleven all season last year and finished tenth, so nobody needs to tell me what the problem is and always has been - scoring a goal!

"It's not happening for us at the minute. We got one side of it right and now we need to keep pressing on to get the other side right in terms of scoring goals. If we score and get a clean sheet, then we'll win games.

"We've only won three of our eight clean sheets and we only needed to put another two on top of that and we'd be in the top ten and not the bottom four. That's how close it is. We're small margins away from getting up that table. We'd have all loved three points, but in the end I thought it was a fair result."

When asked what else pleased him about the game, Big Sam said it was vitally important that the Hammers ended their run of defeats following reverses at Crystal Palace and Liverpool.

"Well, we didn't lose the game after losing two on the trot, so that was a good thing," he went on. "We just need the luck that Liverpool found last week, when they scored with two own-goals and a deflection.

"We had that little bit of luck against Fulham and if we continue to press high, that little bit of luck will go our way. Mo Diame's goal against Fulham was a deflection and we went on to win the game comfortable.

"We have got to continue to be resilient first and foremost and then believe in our own ability. I just felt the lads mentally found it tough on occasions [against Sunderland], for the first time, and I've got to make sure they get over that and deliver the performances I know they are capable of.

"They looked a little bit nervous, edgy and hesitant and when you put yourselves in this position the pressure can come on you, that can happen. You've got to deal with it, put those thoughts out of your mind and get back to being very positive about what we are as a team and do the business."