Big Sam's perfect birthday present

Sam Allardyce hailed the quality of his triumvirate of frontmen, after West Ham United's striking trio each bagged a goal in Saturday's 3-1 Barclays Premier League win at Burnley on Saturday.

With the game still goalless at the break, brilliant headers from summer signings Diafra Sakho and Enner Valencia saw the Hammers two goals to the good within just ten second-half minutes.

Though George Boyd's scrappy goal prompted a brief Burnley revival, substitute Carlton Cole joined the party too, nodding home a decisive third with 20 minutes still to play. Victory lifts Big Sam's men up to fourth and, on the eve of his 60th  birthday, the West Ham boss had plenty to celebrate.

"What about those two headers! They were absolutely fantastic. These two lads, [Sakho and Valencia] have come in and hit ground the running and they're certainly making a name for themselves.

"We then felt that with Enner, having been away to South America and having played twice, he's got a goal, brilliant. Let's bring Coley on and lo and behold for me today, the front three scored three goals today. In the end it looks like a comfortable win but it was never that comfortable.

"This was a massive, massive win. These are the teams you've got to get your points against. We did it against QPR, we've done it against Burnley and that makes our life a lot easier to go and attack Manchester City next week."

While all's well that ends well, Big Sam admitted that he had plenty to change at the interval, after the hosts had launched an early onslaught on the West Ham goal. Though the Hammers were to survive, the West Ham manager still felt there was a great deal more to come from his side.

"I was disappointed that, even though we didn't play that well in the first half, we hadn't converted any of the three or four chances that we had. Again, at the other end, we had a little bit of fortune when they hit the woodwork, so it went in swings and roundabouts."

"My reaction was that I had to change something at half-time," he confirmed. "Two things, to give the players a kick up the backside and secondly, change the shape of the team. It's all well and good saying it's all about keeping the ball, but it's what you do with that's the most important thing. And what we were doing in the first half was not sufficient to hurt Burnley.

"I asked them to get in wide areas and to do it quicker. Then they come up with two unbelievable crosses, one from Aaron Cresswell, for a great Sakho header and then an unbelievable cross again from Carl Jenkinson and a brilliant header from Valencia."

With an assist apiece, Big Sam reserved special praise for his two full-backs, delighted to see them making their mark at both ends of the pitch.

He continued: "They're young, they're enthusiastic and they've got lots of energy. They've got quality on the ball and not only do they get up there, they get back. That's the key element. You've got to have the capacity to get all the way back into your position as quickly as you can and both these lads can do that. Their outstanding quality has put us on the road to victory."

All things considered, Big Sam is understandably thrilled with how things are going at present and believes the Hammers have now laid the foundations for a positive campaign.

"I hope that we can continue the way we're going at the moment. That's our phase one finished and we've got 13 points. Last season we only got eight, the season before we got 14 and we know what happened that season, we ended up with a very good one. So we've given ourselves a platform to hopefully have a very good season.

"The lads are making me feel good, they're making my job easy at the minute, so long may it continue."