Big Sam bemoans Everton defeat

Sam Allardyce admitted West Ham United had been well beaten at Goodison Park, as Everton ran out convincing 2-0 winners in the Hammers' final away day of the 2012/13 Barclays Premier League season.

With manager David Moyes Old Trafford bound, his players certainly rose to the occasion on this, his Goodison swansong.

Belgian winger Kevin Mirallas was the star-turn on the day, netting either side of the interval in the sixth and the 60th minute to put the contest beyond the visitors.

In truth, it was the least the Toffees deserved and by Big Sam's own admission the margin of victory might have been even greater but for the interventions of goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen.

"By the way we played today I have to say we were lucky to get away with the 2-0," he said. "There's only one player who has been outstanding for us today and that was Jussi Jaaskelainen. He made some absolutely outstanding saves."

Big Sam subsequently acknowledged that his opposite number's imminent departure had hardly helped his charges, with Everton's bright, inventive and high-tempo football proving tough to stifle.

He added: "I warned the players before the game what it was going to be like and it was exactly that and we simply couldn't cope with it today. It's always difficult coming here but this occasion made it even more difficult. And we saw that, not just by the performances of Everton players in possession, but by their performance without the ball.

"They gave us no time on the ball whatsoever. As soon as they lost it, they ran us down, they shut us down, they squeezed us and pressed us and we couldn't get anything because of the energy they showed."

Sunday's disappointment aside, Allardyce is still thrilled with his side's progress this term, in the knowledge that victory on the final day against Reading will guarantee the Hammers a top-ten finish.

"I've really enjoyed this season. Because we had such a fantastic start, we've never been in a relegation-threatened position. That's a massive relief for me as a manager and your players and your football club.

"That in itself has taken us to the position that we're in at the moment, tenth, with one game to go. We've never been lower than 14th, so it has been an outstanding season for us, in our first back in the Barclays Premier League."

Though the season is not yet done and dusted, preparations are already underway for the forthcoming campaign, with new recruits already on the agenda.

"[The next challenge] is adding players. We've got to get better and find more talent. We've got to make the squad bigger and better in terms of the personnel and the talent of the players."