FA set to act over West Ham fans’ anti-Semitic chants
The behaviour of a section of West Ham fans at White Hart Lane yesterday is likely to be the subject of a Football Association inquiry after Tottenham supporters were taunted about last week's attack in Rome while anti-Semitic chants were also heard from the away end.
The FA will await reports from the match officials and delegates before deciding whether to act but an investigation is expected to be launched. Chants of "Viva Lazio" referred to the trouble in Rome before Spurs' Europa League tie that left several fans in hospital. Hissing – to imitate the sound of gas – was also heard from some Hammers supporters.
After the game both managers were wary of discussing the chants. "I don't want to mar [distract attention from] the players' performance," said Andre Villas-Boas following Tottenham's 3-1 win. "It is a great rivalry between these clubs as long as there is not stupidity."
"I can't condemn what I didn't hear," said the West Ham manager Sam Allardyce, "but they shouldn't be doing things like that. I'll listen to it then comment. At the moment it is the least of my worries."
Allardyce also said he was "shocked" by his team's wan performance, describing it as "very poor". West Ham's next two matches are away to Manchester United on Wednesday and at home to Chelsea on Saturday and Allardyce said without much belief that he hoped they would "bounce back".
"We've bounced back after every previous defeat this season, it will be a big ask to do it at Old Trafford but we have got to try at least to show much more what we are about. We were very poor defensively for all three goals, we were not good enough in possession. When you keep giving away the ball against a team with the players they have you will eventually make mistakes and concede. There's not a lot I can do to defend the players. I don't accept the way we have played today."
Allardyce was particularly disappointed at his team's display as he felt Tottenham were vulnerable. "They are not in the best of form and they played Thursday. It is hard to get a result when you've come back from Europe but we made it easy for Tottenham."
Villas-Boas was understandably very pleased. "We were very good, a solid 90 minutes performance," he said. "It was extremely important to get back to winning ways. We have narrowed the gap by two points to [fourth-placed] Chelsea.
He picked out two-goal Jermain Defoe and Clint Dempsey for praise. "Jermain is enjoying his football. Strikers of this nature, their hunger for goals is what you need." Talking of Defoe's first goal, Villas-Boas added: "He can turn away from a defender with his pace, he is immense one-on-one. The goal was decisive as it unlocked the game, coming just before half-time it had a big impact. Dempsey was outstanding too. He linked the game extremely well."