McClaren searching for answers after West Ham run riot

Nottingham Forest 1 West Ham United 4
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The Independent Online

West Ham went to the City Ground without Tottenham-bound midfielder Scott Parker yesterday but still managed to demolish Forest.

Manager Sam Allardyce confirmed that talks are continuing with Spurs about the England midfielder but said an agreement hinged not just on the size of the fee but also on whether the payment terms would allow him to move immediately for a replacement.

Allardyce has added to his squad by signing striker Sam Baldock from MK Dons for a fee believed to be around £2m and poured cold water on speculation that Carlton Cole would follow Parker out of the club before Wednesday's transfer deadline. "I don't anticipate anyone else leaving unless we get a miraculously high bid," he said.

Forest manager Steve McClaren, meanwhile, is anxious to strengthen his back four after sloppy defending saw his side three goals down inside the first 32 minutes yesterday. After Luke Chambers had sliced a Matt Taylor cross into his own net, further mistakes allowed Kevin Nolan and Cole to give West Ham an unassailable lead, the visitors winning two headers inside the Forest box on each occasion.

While Forest looked bright going forward, with former West Bromwich striker Ishmael Miller going close twice and Rob Green making a superb save to keep out a Lewis McGugan volley, Nolan should have added a fourth before Robbie Findlay hit back with 20 minutes left. But Winston Reid restored West Ham's margin as Allardyce's team scored four away from home for the second time this season.

McClaren, who replaced Billy Davies in the summer after Forest reached the Championship play-offs for the second year running under the outspoken Scot, was identified by the City Ground board as the man to take Forest to the next level but has so far seen them win only one match in five despite five new signings, conceding 12 goals in seven games in all competitions.

"Where do you start looking for explanations? That's a good question," McClaren said. "Good defenders don't become bad ones overnight but you have to get the basics right in both penalty areas and if you're letting in goals like that you finish mid-table at best.

"We do need to get the balance in the squad right because at the moment we have seven strikers but only five defenders."

Nottingham Forest (4-4-2) Camp; Gunter, Morgan, Chambers, Cohen; Majewski (Derbyshire, 64), Boating (Lynch, 58), Greening, McGugan (A Reid, 64); Findley, Miller. Substitutes not used Smith (gk), Garner.

West Ham United (4-1-4-1) Green; O'Brien, Tomkins, Reid, McCartney; Noble; Faubert, Collison (Faye, 75), Nolan, Taylor; Cole (Piquionne, 68). Substitutes not used Boffin (gk), Stanislas, Carew.

Referee: G Salisbury (Lancashire).

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