Big Sam backs team after exit

The Hammers manager had promised to focus on the FA Cup after securing Premier League safety, but they were thrashed 4-0 in Saturday’s fifth-round clash at The Hawthorns thanks to two goals from??Brown Ideye, plus strikes from??James Morrison and Saido Berahino.

Allardyce was abused and his substitutions were jeered by the away fans, but he refused to criticise his players at the end of a week that had seen them record Premier League draws with Southampton and Manchester United and lose striker Andy Carroll for the rest of the season through injury.

“Fans get disappointed because there’s 6,500 who have travelled up here and we have built the FA Cup to be one of our big successes this year,” he said.

“When you have travelled this way and the performance has not been as good as they have experienced for most of this season, they express their disappointment.

“I am going to defend the players because we couldn’t cope with the injury list and fixture list and it has not given us the level we can play at.

“I can’t afford to get disappointed in things like that, it’s about me supporting the players. They have given everything they could.

“It wasn’t enough but they have done their best. They have given so much in such a short period of time. They were dead on their feet.”

Morgan Amalfitano was sent off for West Ham after pushing Chris Brunt in the face??just 10 minutes after coming on in the second half and Allardyce admitted he was disappointed by the actions of the former Albion loanee.

He added: “It’s irresponsible and the other thing is we are so short of bodies, so the last thing we need is another suspension. I am sure Morgan will be disappointed as well. We will have to cope.”

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