West Ham 0 Chelsea 3: Sam Allardyce concerned as 'a bit of fear' creeps into his side

The Hammers were easily beaten by Chelsea

The defeat had been that complete Sam Allardyce could not but be completely honest.

After the 3-0 loss to Chelsea, the West Ham manager revealed his team have started to suffer “a bit of fear” on the pitch and the situation is certainly beginning to look concerning off it.

“I never expected to be sat here having lost four games [at home] already,” Allardyce said. “Over last season, I only lost four... so I’ve got a massive dilemma about how to turn that back around again. That was our fortress last year, that’s why we finished 10th and losing four at home is why we’re tinkering with the  bottom four now.”

Having become notorious as one of the Premier League’s most awkward away trips last season, West Ham now have the joint worst home record in the division. That has left them outside the relegation zone on goal difference and the root cause for that is clear, too: Allardyce’s side also have the joint worst scoring record of anyone outside the bottom three.

“Ultimately, I know one thing that will change our dynamics a massive amount,” Allardyce said, “but I can’t have him and that’s Andy  Carroll.”

The long-term absence of the forward has severely disrupted West Ham’s season but it does raise questions over how one injury can cause so many other problems.

Most of all, there was the use of the remaining transfer budget on the so far ineffective Stewart Downing to supply Carroll, rather than another striker to back him up. Allardyce was again at pains to point out how the club “went all out” to try to sign one of “ four top strikers” in August, but the anguished limitations of their play were also evident on Saturday.

Jose Mourinho revealed he spent the extra time of the international break to watch every West Ham game. “I saw everything,” the Portuguese said, but his elaboration did not indicate that was all that much. Even though the home manager went for the drastic action of making two substitutions before half-time, it did not really change anything.

West Ham were actually relatively comfortable in their contained, counter-attacking game until Guy Demel’s 21st-minute error for Frank Lampard’s opening penalty rendered it redundant. They could not do anything else. Worse, Allardyce indicated the team’s inability to attack is now starting to erode their previous assurance in defence, and foster the hesitation that created mistakes like Demel’s.

“I thought the players tried as hard as they can but I think they’re playing with a bit of fear at the moment,” Allardyce said. “ I saw a little confidence ebb away today which I haven’t seen this season.

“That always is dangerous when you see that body language I saw today, so it’s my job to pick them up and remind them about previous performances we’ve had home and away and make sure we get to that level and stop those fears creeping.”

On Saturday, it was Chelsea who were confident and in control, with Oscar and Lampard – again – completing the scoring. The latter insists Mourinho’s side can further improve and “catch fire”. West Ham must too, and soon.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral