Manager on Monday

Sam Allardyce cited Andy Carroll's first 90 minutes of the season as a positive point to take away on an otherwise frustrating afternoon for West Ham United at Everton on Saturday.

Carroll started alongside Carlton Cole and Kevin Nolan for the first time under Allardyce and the trio of forwards caused the Toffees' defence no end of problems in tense and fiercely contested match. Big Sam did admit afterwards however that despite Carroll's hard work to stay in shape, in an ideal world he would not have played the England international for the full match had there not been such a late influx of injuries.

"Andy's fiancée is the owner of a gym and a yoga centre and many times in his striving for fitness he's spent some time with her," Big Sam said. "She's helped him not so much get fit but stay in good condition.

"We didn't want to play him for 90 minutes as he's not quite ready for 90 minutes but because of circumstances it had to be that. He coped with it well and we know he's going to get better the more match fit he gets.

"With the opportunities of other strikers putting pressures on Andy he's got to get on top of his game. The way Enner Valencia and Diafra Sakho have played this year, they've put big pressure on Andy and even Mauro Zarate's performance as sub was really good.

"Andy doesn't feel any pressure - he looks after himself and thinks he should play every week and rightly so. At this moment in time he has a little way to go to find his full match fitness. He did very well for us to complete the 90 minutes.

"We hope this final operation will be one of the major reasons for him not having the same injury problems as he's had over the last couple of years."

On the whole, the Hammers impressed when the five enforced injuries are taken into consideration and those that Big Sam was able to select certainly did their ongoing selection prospects no harm, with Mauro Zarate particularly impressing with a goal from the bench. The manager started with three central defenders and wing backs, three in midfield and two up in the shape of Carroll and Cole.

"Circumstance meant we had to look at the players available and how we could fit them all into our system," he said. "I think that the back three came because of that scenario. Our attacking full-backs are that good that playing wing backs would be great for them and would give us great defensive solidity with the three defenders.

"I think with the first 20-25 minutes we didn't pass the ball and that was a real frustration. After they scored, we got better and better but unfortunately when we got better again - Mauro Zarate's introduction made a real difference - we had to find a goal but we didn't find the other one we should have done.

"If we'd had a point on Saturday I would have been very happy considering our injury situation and really a point should have been the minimum we should have taken."

As Big Sam starts his preparations for Saturday's game with Newcastle United at the Boleyn Ground, his first priority will be to check on the five key players that were forced to miss Saturday's game. Alex Song [knee], Cheikhou Kouyate [knee], Stewart Downing [knee], Enner Valencia [knee] and Diafra Sakho [back] were all ruled out and with only Song and Valencia injured on Club duty, the manager rued the international fixtures that affected his other stars.

"As the week progressed and you're looking forward to the game, we had a big disappointment and had to kept quiet about the injuries that had been picked up by Song and Valencia, which were in the Aston Villa game.

"Then the messages came flooding in from three of our players that had been on international duty and I think at the moment at least two of those could have been prevented. For me it shouldn't have had an effect on the result as we went to Everton with a game plan and I think it worked very well apart from the first 25 minutes when we were allowing Everton to dominate the play with our poor possession. We had some fantastic opportunities but we were simply not clinical enough.

"The bottom line is we get a goal and that upset Everton, who had only won once at home this season and they looked a little shaky, and it's then you take full advantage, show your killer instinct and how ruthless you really are and unfortunately we couldn't show that on Saturday."