'We terrorised their defence'

Sam Allardyce hailed West Ham United's best performance of the season so far - a 2-1 home win over Barclays Premier League champions Manchester City.

The Hammers were full-value for their win, scoring through Morgan Amalfitano's first-half finish and Diafra Sakho's second-half header - his seventh goal in seven starts for the Club - before holding out before and after David Silva's consolation strike.

The manager, whose team stay fourth after a fifth win in nine league games, praised his players for their performances all over the pitch.

"There was not doubt that was the best of our three home wins," said Big Sam. "The performance was the best of the lot as well, because the quality of the opposition we played makes it the best performance we did this season.

"I think the difficulties we had to cope with in the closing stages meant this was a magnificent effort by the players. Watching the TV before the game, they put up the top scorers in Europe and Aguero and Dzeko were both up there, and neither of those two have scored. That's the big contribution from a defensive point of view.

"Attacking-wise, it was about maximising our chances and we certainly maximised our possession for the amount of chances we created against a Manchester City side who are the current champions. If you look at the possession stats and can't believe that Man City lost, if you look at the chances we created against the chances City did you can see why we caused them lots of problems and ended up winning the game.

"We terrorised their defence whenever we got the chance."

West Ham's goals both came from crosses, albeit different types. The first, on 21 minutes, saw Alex Song and Enner Valencia combine at lightning speed before the Ecuadorian crossed low for Amalfitano to convert. A breathless game appeared to be settled when Aaron Cresswell sent over yet another inch-perfect cross for Sakho to nod powerfully past Joe Hart with 15 minutes to go.

However, Silva set up a grandstand finish by curling high into the net seconds later. Either side of the Spaniard's goal, City also hit the woodwork through Sergio Aguero and Yaya Toure, while Adrian produced a host of important saves.

"People are calling it old-fashioned for some reason, but crossing the ball and heading it in the net is never going to be old-fashioned. If you play to your strengths, and these lads are showing that is one of their strengths, then you will score goals.

"These lads are not as big as Andy Carroll but they're as good in the air as Andy in the box, so if the quality of the ball continues to be there, they are going to get more and more chances and more and more goals.

"Two crosses created two goals. Morgan was brilliant coming in off his line inside the far post. We didn't play with two strikers because I thought that was too risky against their quality, so we played with a 4-2-3-1 and for me it was the right decision because we got the right result - and one not many people expected."

At the back, Adrian and his defenders ran themselves into the ground to prevent City from stealing a point late on. While West Ham rode their luck, Big Sam said they deserved their success.

"They were there when they were needed and made a big contribution to us winning. We wanted a clean sheet but I can't complain about what Silva did, because I said to the players that if we lose a goal, let it be a brilliant one. That little man pulled out a bit of genius there, so we have to accept that quality.

"That genius hasn't hurt us, though, and we have got the three points."

So, with 16 points from nine games, what is the challenge now for Big Sam?

"The hard thing is sustaining it. You have spells as a team and those that are the best are usually the ones who can sustain it the best and stand the pressures it brings. We are going to find out if we can do that now, because we have certainly made an impact.

"The lads are going to have to cope with more scrutiny from the opposition in terms of stopping the effect of our front two, in particular. They will try to protect themselves better against the problems I don't think anybody expected us to cause.

"We have to keep our feet on the ground and ask ourselves 'Can we get better than we already are?' - that's our ultimate challenge. For me, the ultimate challenge is not to see any complacency slip in and them thinking 'We've done it all'.

"We will not do anything unless we continue to work as hard as we've done for the whole of this season."