Manager on Monday

Ahead of playing Newcastle, Sam Allardyce highlighted the Hammers' progress over the last three years
West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce said his side are on the right trajectory despite conceding a last minute winner to Everton on Saturday. 

Looking ahead to the Hammers final game of the 2014/15 season, away at Allardyce’s former employers Newcastle United, the Gaffer highlighted the progress the Irons have made over the past three years since returning to the Premier League. 

“The overall reality is we’re still in year three. We’ve got a young squad which is good enough to finish around tenth. In the last three seasons, we’ve finished tenth, thirteenth and maybe eleventh or tenth, which I think is good going. Considering we got promoted in my first year, we’ve had four outstanding seasons.”

Sunday’s trip to the North East has an added edge given the fact that Newcastle still have yet to secure their Premier League status.

However, Allardyce maintained that the only motivation for wanting to win the game was to try and reach the 50 point mark, in what would be their highest points return since being promoted. 

“It’s important to beat Newcastle for a morale point of view. We want to finish on 50 points and we have an opportunity to do that. 

“There’s been a bit of talk about facing Newcastle at the training ground. Obviously myself, Kevin and Andy all worked there. We’re all motivated to win there, for ourselves, not for anything else.”  

Despite conceding yet another late goal, the manager said his side had performed well enough to get something from Saturday’s game. 

The Hammers gone in front thanks to a composed placed finish by Stewart Downing before an equally brilliant volley by Leon Osman levelled the game. With just moments to go, Romelu Lukaku scored in his sixth consecutive game against the Hammers to take all three points.    

“It’s another bitter disappointment because we’ve lost an entertaining game, one where we had our noses in front. We were punished for being too creative and trying to get a second goal and we paid a heavy price for that. 

“It’s unbelievable that Lukaku scored again. I thought we kept him quiet and he hadn’t caused us that many problems but he was there at the end to finish us off.”

A positive for the Hammers was youngster Reece Burke who came on in place of James Collins after fourteen minutes and, yet again, proved he is Premier League ready.  

Allardyce heaped praise on the youngster, saying: “It didn’t help losing James Collins but I don’t think Reece Burke did anything wrong. He had a fantastic game when he came on. He showed some really good defending as well as some cool and calm touches on the ball.

“I’m very pleased for him. He’ll be disappointed that he’s played in a game that he hasn’t won, but Reece Burke has got a very bright future.”