Sam Allardyce was proud of his team’s performance and less than happy with the referee’s performance as his West Ham side lost in the final minutes to Everton 3-2.
Mark Noble was given a controversial red card and Allardyce felt that, along with Romelu Lukaku’s half time introduction, was the difference.
“Up until the sending off, I thought the players were great,” said Allardyce. “After losing your last home game you want a response from your players and I think we got that. Everton a great side and we matched them. I’m really disappointed that we lost.”
“Lukaku was a huge difference. Everton played off him and we found that more difficult but our defensive qualities shone through as we restricted them up until Baines scored the first goal.”
The late defeat was even more bittersweet as Lukau had been a summer transfer target for the Irons.
“I had been talking to Jose (Mourinho) all summer about Lukaku, it was no, no, no, no, no, then there was a quick switch and everton got in there before us or West brom. That’s the way the cookie crumbles.”
The red card for Noble certainly had an effect o the game, but Big Sam was watchful with his words.
“I’ve got to be careful what I say, we all have. We get fined and the last thing I want is the FA getting any of my money that I work really hard for. If we want referees to get better then they have to get criticised like we all do in this game.”
“I’ve had a look at (the challenge). It’s easy for me to say Mark Noble has played the ball but he did because I have seen it on the laptop. The ref sees it where he is but he has to be certain because it’s a sending off. If Noble had not been booked before then Baines might still score but it’s still 2-2 with eleven men.”
Leighton Baines stepped up to score his second free kick of the game from Noble’s foul.
“How often do you see that? Not very often. That’s three in two home games for us, Pennant did the same thing for Stoke. You expect three in the whole season and (Baines) has put two in one game.”
While Allardyce could take some respite from a good display in general from his defence, that late blow was ultimately very difficult to take. While Everton jump into the top four, West Ham slip to 14th with five points from five games.
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