West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce was left to rue his side’s generosity after they handed Manchester City a gift-wrapped win at the Eithad Stadium on Sunday.
James Collins’ 18th minute own-goal was followed by a Sergio Aguero strike on the counter-attack as the Hammers’ wait for an away win in 2015 goes on.
After missing late chances through Enner Valencia and Kevin Nolan, the manager was left to reflect on an afternoon which could have gone so much better for his side, had they been sharper in both boxes.
“We knew that Manchester City, with their ability, would have a lot of possession,” he explained.
“When we beat Manchester City in October, they had a lot of possession in that game but we took our chances. We played better when we had possession and we didn’t make the type of mistakes we made in the first half and that’s why we won the game.
“Today’s mistakes have ultimately cost us two goals which we could have avoided quite easily. Sometimes when you play Manchester City with the quality and talent they’ve bought here you have to hold your hands up because you can’t stop them.
“But certainly today makes it very disappointing because we gifted them two goals which we could have avoided quite easily.
“Then of course we’ve gone to the other end and often you don’t get chances here as good as we had, but you have to convert them.
“We’re still in the area of not quite converting the chances we’re creating. That should have been for something more than coming back from 2-0 down by not making the silly mistakes we did.
“It’s a great shame after a resilient performance, because in the main we made life difficult for Manchester City to create chances.
“The disappointing thing in the first half wasn’t just the two mistakes, but the possession we gave away and when that got better we started to penetrate Manchester City.
“Our two golden chances came and went. Enner Valencia, four yards out with just the keeper to beat toes it wide, then Kevin one-on-one with the keeper. Yes, the keeper makes a good save but Kevin is one of those that normally you can rely on him to score that.”
With five games of the 2014/15 season remaining, Big Sam is determined to get over the 50 point mark and lead the Hammers to a top-ten finish.
He added: “The players really now have to accept responsibility that they’ve got to focus and knuckle down to ensuring we hit the 50-point target and achieve our best season in the Premier League since promotion.
“We should have done it weeks ago, we should have 49 points now just based on the last few seconds of games. It’s their responsibility along with me guiding them the right way, we all accept responsibility together.
“When they’re on the field they have to make the right decisions at the right time and make sure we get over the line.
“I’ll try to guide them as much as I can and make sure we don’t fall away and everyone think it’s a disappointing season when we did so much in the early part of the season.
“My focus is still on the team trying to achieve five clean sheets in the last five games. Unless we do that we’re going to find it tough to win a game of football because it’s simple maths that at the moment we rarely score more than one.
“Because of that it’s simple for the team to understand that if they want to win a game of football, they’ve got to not concede a goal.
“They’ve got to focus on making sure they keep a clean sheet and who knows what would have happened if we hadn’t made those two mistakes today. We may well have come off here with a 0-0 from how well we defended. We may well have come away, with Man City getting nervous, nicking the game.
“But until we keep a clean sheet we’re going to find it difficult to win a game of football.”