x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Allardyce backs Carroll to find form as West Ham held by Stoke

West Ham needed a Joey O'Brien equaliser to secure a point at Upton Park against Stoke City after squandering the chance to go fifth in the English Premier League.

West Ham loan striker Andy Carroll is challenged by Stoke's Jonathan Walters for the ball.
West Ham loan striker Andy Carroll is challenged by Stoke's Jonathan Walters for the ball.

Sam Allardyce, the West Ham United manager, believes Andy Carroll is being targeted for extra attention from opposing defenders after backing the striker to rediscover his scoring touch.

The £35 million England international, currently on loan from Liverpool, again failed to find the back of the net as West Ham were held to a 1-1 draw in the English Premier League by Stoke City at Upton Park.

Jonathan Walters opened the scoring for the visitors with a smart finish following a well-worked corner routine and Allardyce needed defender Joey O'Brien to hit only his second goal for the club to rescue a point.

Allardyce believes Carroll's reputation means he will always be highlighted as the main threat by opposing teams.

"He is going to attract attention by the fact he is very good at his hold-up play and his heading ability, and people are going to need to pay particular attention to him," he said.

"He is going to attract one or two defenders around him and that will create spaces elsewhere.

"Andy is not to be frustrated by the fact that he is not scoring at the moment and in fact today he didn't get much of a chance to score.

"But I think sooner or later, if we keep concentrating on him making runs into the box and the service we give, he will eventually score."

Carroll looked visibly irritated when Allardyce replaced him with Carlton Cole late in the second half, but the coach felt his side needed fresh impetus up front.

"He wants to score a goal and he wants me to leave him on for 90 minutes but at the end of the day he put that much effort in, there are a lot of fresh players on the bench," he said.

"There is Carlton Cole, Matt Taylor and Guy Demel who came on and continued to give us that much more energy to find a winner.

"Fresh players with fresh legs can come on and try and push the opposition and try to score a goal. He will be disappointed, I know, but in the end you make the subs for the benefit of everybody to try to win the game."

West Ham missed out on the chance to move up to fifth in the table following the draw and Allardyce felt his side did enough to win the game after the break.

"In the end we were disappointed we didn't win it, given our second-half performance," he said.

"When you put that much pressure on the opposition second half you have got to try to a be a bit more ruthless in front of goal, a little bit more quality and composure needed and we probably would have won it, but at the end of the day it is another point."

Unsurprisingly Stoke's opening goal came from a set-piece, albeit an unusual one after Glenn Whelan rolled a corner kick across the ground into the area where a clever run from the far past allowed Walters to hammer it past Jussi Jaaskelainen

Stoke manager Tony Pulis revealed his side had been working over the past few days on the corner that unlocked the West Ham defence with just 13 minutes on the clock.

"We have worked on it for the past three days, we tried it five or six times and Jonathan Walters has never scored from it so I'm glad he saved it for today."

He added: "I spend a lot of time watching videos and watching teams and I felt if we could do this it would come off. You work on it millions and millions of times.

"All of my career I have always looked for little angles and little areas that we could exploit from set-plays and it is lovely when it comes off."


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