Big Sam on West Brom draw

Sam Allardyce admitted to feeling 'drained' after Saturday's rollercoaster 3-3 Barclays Premier League draw with West Bromwich Albion.

The Hammers led twice and trailed once in a thrilling contest at the Boleyn Ground, only to be denied a valuable victory by Saido Berahino's fine finish. Earlier, Joe Cole had given West Ham a third-minute lead before Nicolas Anelka returned to haunt his former Bolton Wanderers boss with two goals in six minutes before half-time.

After a difficult start to the second half, the Hammers scored twice in three minutes through substitute Modibo Maiga and captain Kevin Nolan before Berahino silenced the cheers with a pinpoint strike in off the base of the upright.

All that, added to losing James Tomkins with a groin injury when West Ham were leading 1-0, left Big Sam feeling a whole host of emotions when he spoke to West Ham TV.

"Drained is probably an understatement of how I feel after that game," said Big Sam. "We went through the full range of emotions during the game. We made a fantastic start, had a comfortable 30-35 minutes and suffered the massive blow of James Tomkins having to come off the field.

"That normally wouldn't be a cost if we'd had our other central defenders fit. The only place we couldn't stand an injury was at centre-half and the only place we suffered an injury was to a centre-half. Everything seems to be going against us at the moment, but that means we have to keep fighting hard and against this until things start going for us a little bit more.

"We had to play four full-backs in a back four and, not that I am criticising George or Joey really, that's probably where their first two goals came from. The first one, Nicolas got through the middle and from a central defender's point of view, you have to stay goalside or else the striker is right in the middle of the goal. When you're a full-back, it's not as big a problem as they're only going to be crossing, but when it happens down the middle they're going to be shooting at goal.

"For the second goal, I don't think they were particularly at fault for anything but we didn't have the height to deal with the opposition. With all of our centre-backs being out injured, we're playing six foot full-backs marking players who are six foot three or six foot four. That was the problem with the second goal, plus we didn't think it was a corner in the first place, but we thought it was a goal kick.

"We changed our centre forward because I thought Coley was fatigued after doing a great job against Arsenal. He got a little tired at the end of the first half and Modibo is a lot fresher than him, so he came on and did the business. That's what you want from your centre forward, to get you back in the game, and that's what he has done brilliantly.

"Kevin got a goal when we needed it and every goal he seems to score is an important one. It didn't go on and win us the game but we didn't lose it. I thought we'd go on to win it and the only criticism is that we didn't do what we practice every week after we have scored. They did it OK after we scored our first two, but they didn't do it right when they scored our third and that was to allow them straight into our box and score without us getting a toe, tackle or block on anything. That's not us on how we practice week-in, week-out."

After keeping eight clean sheets in their opening 16 games, West Ham conceded three goals for the third league game in succession. The manager pointed to the injuries suffered by Winston Reid, James Collins and Tomkins as the major reason for his side's recent defensive woes.

"Because of our injury problems we've started to concede goals and we will continue to concede goals if we have to play people out of position in defence. It is just a necessity at the moment because we are coping with six or seven injured and it's a massive problem for us.

"We have to reduce that number of injured players as quickly as possible because we've had it for far too long and it's why we are in the bottom three of the league - it's as simple as that."

After conceding to Berahino with 20 minutes remaining, both teams continued to attack and either one could have nicked a victory in the closing stages.

"Both teams decided that they wanted to try and win," continued Big Sam. "We went to try and win and so did they and it could have gone either way. The disappointing thing was that we couldn't hold onto our 3-2 advantage for ten minutes because I think that would have perhaps won us the game.

"Like I said, I can't be too critical of the back four because I have a back four that shouldn't be playing as a back four with full-backs at centre-half. It has to be like that for this moment in time."

With the 2013 fixture list now complete, the New Year begins with a trip to Fulham and the opening of the transfer window on 1 January. With defenders and forwards injured, Big Sam admitted he is desperate to sign reinforcements, but that clinching deals early in the window may prove difficult.

"I have to say that disappointingly from our point of view, most of the targets we hoped to sign by 2 January are now not available, having either decided not to join us or ventured on a new negotiation elsewhere.

"We've been at it for six weeks now and my need is ever more desperate than the position we're in for new players in January, but our desire to get new players in has fallen because most clubs don't want to loan players or let them go.

"We hope we will get new recruits but they have to be good enough. If I pick a player who is not good enough then everybody will destroy him before he starts, so I need to pick a player who can hit the ground running from the start and do the business from the beginning. That's the issue.

"We didn't want to have to sign any players in January but it looks like we might have to. More important than recruiting new players is getting our injured players fit as soon as possible."