Belfast Telegraph

West Ham must refocus after Southampton defeat insists manager Sam Allardyce

By Mark Bryans

Sam Allardyce is to consider introducing a psychologist at West Ham in an attempt to eradicate any "cockiness" from his players.

After he saw his side let a lead slip in defeat to Southampton before the international break, Allardyce claimed a few needed to have their "backsides kicked" for a failure of communication on the pitch.

The 59-year-old revealed he has made his feelings known to the players and believes they may have suffered from over-confidence against Southampton after a strong showing to win 3-1 at Crystal Palace the previous weekend.

"The expectation after that (Palace) game was high and we just didn't live up to it," he said.

"Maybe the players were a bit too cocky. Maybe they had listened to the praise too much. The outside world is not what you should listen to if you want to be successful as a footballer.

"You can be distracted if you get too much praise and perhaps a little put off if you get criticism. They just need to stay focused on their responsibilities."

Having worked with a psychologist in the past and, with Dr Steve Peters making strides with both Liverpool and England in recent months, Allardyce admits he may go down a similar road to better his side in the future.

When asked if he already had a psychologist in place, Allardyce said: "Not at the moment.

"But I am thinking of looking at that again to get the players' frame of mind right. It is obviously very important.

"We had a real problem against Southampton. There was a problem retaining information. We lost the game on not covering two set plays and that was a real kick in the teeth for me.

"We do a lot of practice with the players – on their iPhones and their iPads. We clearly didn't do things correctly and that was a major let-down for me.

"That all boils down to when a player is on the field taking responsibilities a lot more seriously than they did against Southampton. There is no logical reasons for them doing what they did."

New signing Alex Song could make his Hammers debut as Allardyce looks to return to winning ways at Hull tonight, with the Barcelona man seen as an ideal man to bring out more from players on the pitch.

"Other players definitely look up to a player like him," Allardyce said.

"They will all get lifted by a player like him who has played consistently at the top level of the game. That is the type of reaction we are looking for from a player like him.

"He is a world class player and just by their attitude it shows the other players what they have to try and achieve.

"The one thing about Alex is he just wants to play football. Playing for Barcelona is fantastic, but it's not fantastic when you're not playing regularly – it's just miserable."

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