On-song Sam sings winning tune

Sam Allardyce hailed his sensational strikers as Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho lifted West Ham United up to third in the Barclays Premier League.

The Hammers frontmen combined for all the goals as West Ham recovered from a goal down to defeat Swansea City 3-1 at the Boleyn Ground. That is three wins in nine days for Big Sam and his players, who came from a goal down for the second game in succession to take all three points.

After Wilfried Bony had fired the visitors in front against the run of play on 19 minutes, Carroll took centre-stage, powering in Carl Jenkinson's fine cross just before half-time, then rising high to nod in Stewart Downing's inch-perfect corner midway through the second half.

Substitute Sakho, on his return from a back injury, then attracted a challenge from Swansea goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski which saw the Pole sent-off before hitting both posts with low shots. The Senegalese was not to be denied, however, and thrashed home the clinching third when he beat Ashley Williams to Carroll's flick-on.

You can watch the manager's post-match West Ham TV interview in full here:

"When we came back from an unfortunate defeat at Everton which I didn't think we deserved, I asked the lads what they could do in a big week for us," Big Sam started. "We were playing for nine points in nine days, rather than nine points in three weeks as we were at the start of the season, when we had international breaks.

"That's why everybody else is sitting up and taking notice, because nobody else in the Premier League has won all three games and only Manchester United can match us by winning on Monday when they play.

"Nobody else has managed to achieve what we have and that puts us in real top form again. Considering we have gone a goal down in the last two games and come back to win, it shows the ability of this squad to overcome some adversity.

"We switched off for a minute and got caught on the counter-attack, which were obviously Swansea's tactics, and that man Bony only needs one chance and he put it in the back of the net.

"It was a terrific recovery from there. I was delighted with the number of chances we created and we scored three goals, including two headers from Andy which makes him feel great and one for Sakho when he came on as sub. In the end it couldn't have worked out any better."

While the strikers will take the headlines, Alex Song produced arguably the outstanding individual performance of the afternoon, dominating the midfielder with his strength, composure, deceptive pace and incisive passing.

*Alex Song celebrates the win over Swansea City in unique style:




"Song makes us sing!" joked Big Sam. "Because he can control the midfield. He is composed, cool, calm, accurate with his passing, most of his passes are forward, he waits for the right pass and he beats a man when he has to try to make sure he makes the right pass.

"He is not match-fit yet, but he is going to be awesome when he is match-fit. In fact, he was awesome in this game and a big bonus in terms of the way we played and how much better we were in possession of the ball and became much more creative.

"Him and Stewart Downing in the diamond looked terrific and I also have to mention Kevin Nolan and Cheik Kouyate for the work they put in and the contribution they made. Everybody did their job brilliantly. We just got caught cold but overcame it with a great victory."

West Ham have scored more headed goals, with 12, than any other Barclays Premier League side and the second-highest in any of Europe's top five leagues behind Spanish champions Atletico Madrid.

In his West Ham TV interview, Big Sam put this down to the form of Stewart Downing and the outstanding delivery from wide areas from both the No11 and the two full-backs.

"That's two more headers today to add to two against West Brom, plus Sakho's volley, and in final-third areas we score so many goals because of the quality of our crossing from Downing, Jenkinson and Cresswell," he continued. "That's 15 games and 26 goals."

The manager calmed fears that Jenkinson could face a spell on the sidelines after the right-back hobbled off with a minor hamstring injury late on, suggesting the No18 could be fit for next weekend's trip to Sunderland.

Looking ahead to the visit to the Stadium of Light, Big Sam is hoping for at least a point to end the second of his eight-game 'phases' of the season on a high.

"We're on a real top target in terms of our phase two. We've taken 14 points from seven games in this phase so if we can get a point or three then we'll have smashed the second phase out of sight.

"That gives us a top three or four finish based on the points we'll have gathered in that time, so phase one and phase two will be in the bag if we get another result next week. That gives us the opportunity to go into phase three and say 'Can we maintain it?'."

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FT - West Ham United 3-1 Swansea City