Big Sam on Saints stalemate

Sam Allardyce felt a mixture of pride and frustration after seeing his depleted West Ham United side earn a hard-fought 0-0 Barclays Premier League draw at Southampton.

The Hammers, who went into the game without half-a-dozen first-teamers through injury, lost Adrian to a 61st-minute red card for handling outside the box, then played out the final 20 minutes with Andy Carroll rendered immobile by a knee problem.

Big Sam claimed his goalkeeper should not have been sent-off, but praised his replacement Jussi Jaaskelainen and his outfield players for resiliently playing out time against a Saints outfit who started the day in third place.

"The game was exactly what we didn't want in terms of how it panned out, but not in terms of how we played or the football that we tried to play or the effort that we gave," he began. "The decisions went against us, particularly the sending-off which was not a sending-off.

"From there, having used all our substitutes, Andy Carroll re-injured the same knee, but I was absolutely delighted for the players who stopped a Southampton side who have been very good here this season and got us a very precious point.

"It almost feels like a win after the things we had to endure tonight, so against all the odds we got a
draw. This was a nine-man team that hasn't lost."

To start with the positives, Big Sam was rightly proud of his team's ability to restrict Southampton to shots from the edge of the penalty area - both before and after Adrian's dismissal.

"It is a feather in our cap and we know Southampton have been very good here, even though they
haven't been as free-scoring as they were at the start of the season - a bit like ourselves.

"We knew that to get anything out of this game we'd have to get a clean sheet because Southampton would look at their record, which was eight clean sheets before tonight and now nine.

"We had to get our own defensive play right and then we started to probe more and more. We knew we'd get some tired legs late on, as we'd played 4pm on Sunday, so we made the substitutes accordingly, and then unfortunately the big decision hit us with the goalie being sent-off and Andy getting injured.

"We've still managed to secure a point, but my fear is unfortunately that the extra effort we have put in with nine men will maybe take its toll when we play Saturday at 12.45pm in the FA Cup at West Brom."

One man who will likely feature at The Hawthorns is veteran goalkeeper Jaaskelainen, who impressed hugely on his first Premier League appearance since New Year's Day 2014.

"He is quality and this is the point of keeping a man like Jussi, who keeps himself super-fit for his age.

He is turning 40 soon, but trains every day and loves training.

"He has been frustrated because he loves to play if he can, but he understands the position and the form of Adrian this year. This is why you don't throw a man like Jussi away. You keep him, because he has used every ounce of his experience to make sure, in the end, he was a key element in us winning a point.

"His saves near the end, his kicking, his handling and his composure were massive in terms of helping us win a point."

In closing, the manager was asked if any of the injured or, in Mark Noble's case ill, absentees would be available to play on Saturday at West Brom.

Meanwhile, Big Sam also confirmed that the Club will not be signing France midfielder Lassana Diarra
due to administrative issues.

"We are going to have to if we're going to try to get through to the next round. Andy is out and there were some real tired legs out there and I saw Cheikhou limping off at the end after another terrific performance.

"I can only hope that Kevin and Mark are fit. I think it will come just too soon for James Collins and Reidy, so we'll just have to assess and hope that nothing untoward has happened when they come in on Thursday. A little strain on a Wednesday night will keep them out on Saturday.

"I have to say [with regard to Diarra] we have waited and we have negotiated for weeks to get the right deal and now we've got it, we find we can't get the right paperwork and the right clearance, so we have wasted his time and our time.

"On the basis of the situation we're in right now, he would have been a very crucial player for us between now and the end of the season."

*Join the debate following tonight's hard-earned draw on Twitter @whufc_official using the hashtag #SOUWHU