West Ham boss Allardyce fumes after letting Norwich City off the hook

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce felt his side let Chris Hughton's Norwich City off the hook. Picture by

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce felt his side let Chris Hughton's Norwich City off the hook. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Sam Allardyce left Carrow Road seething at the self-inflicted blows which consigned West Ham to a 3-1 Premier League defeat.

The Hammers' chief was convinced his side abdicated total control after a dominant first-half display against a lacklustre Norwich. Jussi Jaaskelainen's aberration gifted the hosts a way back into the contest with Gary Hooper's emphatic penalty triggering an onslaught from Chris Hughton's men.

'The real disappointment lies in the fact that when the opposition beats you because they have been better than you, you accept that, but when you have gifted the opposition three points that is so difficult to take,' said Allardyce. 'We put in a performance in the first half where we completely dominated the game and finally got the goal we were searching for to give us the platform to go on and get three points rather than drawing. Then our defending threw it away from our point of view, rather than actually showing that resilience yet again to gather the three precious points we should have won from this match.'

Allardyce was in no mood to spare the normally assured Jaaskelainen, who hauled down Hooper to concede a pivotal spot kick in his desperation to retrieve a high ball spilled under pressure from City centre-back Michael Turrner.

'The bottom line is that Jussi doesn't normally make that sort of mistake and you'd hope he would get away with it, but this time he didn't get away with it,' he said. 'He shouldn't have gone diving for the ball, but because he knew he had made the mistake, he got over-anxious trying to put it right and ended up making another mistake by sadly giving the penalty away. It was a soft one but at the end of the day there was contact from Jussi's arm and the player has made the best of it and the referee has seen it as a penalty. You could say you have seen them given and you've seen them not given.'

Norwich seized on the lifeline before Robert Snodgrass' drifting free-kick deceived Jaaskelainen and Leroy Fer's stoppage-time burst followed by a composed finish from 18 yards out sealed a vital victory.

'The first error by Jussi gave them the massive lift they were looking for and we gifted them the boost of confidence that they were searching for, but looked like they were never going to get,' said Allardyce. 'It's a psychological thing in that it lifted the crowd. They were booing at half-time but 10 minutes after, they were cheering, which makes a massive difference and that's our fault. What really surprised me was that it seemed to kill the spirit of the team for a bit and then we recovered from it. We then conceded a second goal which was another blow for us. Snodgrass' free-kick is the fourth one against us in 11 games this season, when in two years previously at West Ham I haven't had four scored against me. That's a bizarre stat because Leighton Baines and Jermaine Pennant haven't scored one since and it will probably be a while before Snodgrass gets another one. He got it when it mattered for Norwich and it was a killer for us.'

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Allardyce went into the match fully aware of the consequences of a defeat which saw West Ham slip below the Canaries after their second-half implosion.

'We gifted Norwich three points and made life difficult for ourselves when we shouldn't have done, but there we are,' he said. 'We've faltered in our defensive side for the first time this season when we were 1-0 up and ended up with no points when you'd have thought at half-time that we'd go home with a very valuable three points.

'Had the game gone on at 1-0 for another 10 or 15 minutes I think we would have been saying we'd won 2-0 because they would have got more and more desperate, thrown more and more men forward and lost their confidence. That would have given us more chances to add a second, but unfortunately it didn't pan out that way and we only have ourselves to blame.'