'It's a marathon, not a sprint'

Having taken charge of more than 800 matches in his managerial career, Sam Allardyce knows now is not the time to panic.

The West Ham United boss watched on in near-disbelief as his side twice lost the lead before going down to ten men and being edged out 3-2 by Everton in a pulsating Barclays Premier League fixture.

The Hammers went in front after 31 minutes through Ravel Morrison's maiden top-flight goal, only for Baines to curl his first outstanding free-kick into the top left-hand corner after a James Collins foul on Ross Barkley after an hour.

James McCarthy's trip on Kevin Nolan allowed Mark Noble to slot West Ham back into the lead from the penalty spot on 76 minutes, only for the No16's foul on Barkley to see him sent-off for a second bookable offence - despite it appearing that he got a foot to the ball. With the Hammers down to ten men, Kevin Mirallas combined with Belgian compatriot Romelu Lukaku, who bravely headed in the winner with five minutes to go.

The Boleyn Ground faithful were left equally stunned by the Hammers' second home defeat in succession, but Big Sam insists time is on his team's side just five matches into a 38-game 2013/14 season.

"It was a gut-wrencher and leaves you feeling so sorry for the players deep down inside," said the manager. "Obviously the fans are disappointed too because they've seen a good performance but seen us lose 3-2.

"For me the players have done so much and created a good game in terms of what we've come to expect at Upton Park, but then unfortunately Everton don't seem to be our team here. Last year, we went 1-0 up and I remember Carlton Cole getting sent-off and we ended up losing 2-1.

"The game has hinged on a free-kick that the referee has given that has not only given them a free-kick that they've scored from, but he's also sent Mark Noble off. Then, they've scored the winner because we were down to ten men. It's difficult to take.

"I have looked at it again and I know it's easy for me to say because I've looked at it on the laptop, but he's taken the ball and he's not played the man until after he's played the ball. For me, that would then be difficult to take.

"My problem would then be if they don't see it that way, because development and constructive criticism is a big part of referees getting better and if they say that's a free-kick and it was the right decision to send him off, then I would have a problem with that.

"I think many decision these days don't appear to be rectified enough and the responsibility of the referees' coaches and bosses is to make sure that development is right and clear and they understand it. Then mistakes get fewer and farther between. That's how we find players and develop them and coach them into being better players.

"It wouldn't have been a major decision had it been a free-kick and a yellow card and we still would have said it's not a free-kick in the first place, but he'd not have been sent-off. Baines then scores a goal, which was great technique which we could do nothing about, but I don't think we'd have lost the game."

It had all been a different story before half-time, when West Ham dominated for long periods against Roberto Martinez's men, not allowing them to settle into their new patient passing style.

As a result, it was no surprise when Morrison collected Matt Jarvis' pass and fired in a shot that clipped Phil Jagielka on the way into the net.

"Even though Everton had a good part of the game in the second half, with the players they could introduce from the bench [in Lukaku and McCarthy] we always knew that could happen.

"Jussi has hardly had a save to make other than the two free-kicks and the header, which I don't think he could have got to anyway. Other than that, he only had one save when Mirallas came inside and hit one in the first ten minutes and Jussi saved it.

"It's a great shame with our defensive record and the way we defended that we actually conceded three goals."

There were positives for the manager to take, with Morrison continuing his development with an eye-catching, goalscoring performance in central midfield and debutant Mladen Petric playing a huge role in the move that led to West Ham's penalty.

"Ravel is getting better. He's got to be careful because I thought he tried to buy a free-kick when he shouldn't have done, so I'll have a word with him about that. At that stage, he'd been booked as well, so I'll have to make sure that doesn't happen again.

"He's looking better and better and in the end, you talk about players being ready and managers not playing young players, but the trouble is that most young players aren't good enough. When you know Ravel Morrison is good enough then it's not a hard decision for me to put him in the team.

"It's not difficult for me to stick young ones in when I know he's good enough. I did it many times at Bolton and at Blackburn Rovers and I'll do it here. They get their chance and they either step up to the mark or they don't. If they don't, you either put them back down to develop or you get rid ot them, that's the bottom line to play in the Premier League.

"With Ravel, it's not a difficult decision as everybody can see. He can only get better with the more experience that he gets."

Finally, Big Sam has been in the managerial game long enough to know that a four-game winless run will cause some supporters to get a little restless. However, the boss is not about to start worrying just yet.

"Everybody else is not scoring goals or having a little wobble. Manchester United lost at Liverpool, Chelsea have lost two on the trot, Newcastle won two and lost at home on Saturday.

"We would love to have got off to a great start  but we have now made that difficult with our good group of fixtures, especially losing to Everton. I don't consider it all our fault losing on Saturday, but we have got to pick ourselves up and make sure we get something at Hull City and then come back here and try to win the next game to get more points on the board.

"If that doesn't happen, it's a marathon, not a sprint."