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Allardyce celebrates 60th with win


West Ham manager Sam Allardyce, pictured, was given the perfect birthday present with three points at Burnley

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce, pictured, was given the perfect birthday present with three points at Burnley

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce, pictured, was given the perfect birthday present with three points at Burnley

Sam Allardyce headed off to begin his 60th birthday celebrations with a spring in his step after seeing West Ham defeat Burnley to go fourth in the Barclays Premier League table.

Allardyce turns 60 on Sunday and the former Blackburn manager is staying in the north west to mark the occasion.

It did not look being a happy Saturday afternoon after a first half Allardyce admitted "wasn't good enough" but Burnley could not take their chances and West Ham made them pay.

Diafra Sakho and Enner Valencia headed goals in the opening 10 minutes of the second half and, although George Boyd pulled one back, substitute Carlton Cole sealed a 3-1 victory for the Hammers.

Allardyce said: " I said to the players before the game, 'Come on lads I need a result, because it is my birthday, and if I can't get a result it's not going to be very pleasing for me, no matter that I'm with my old mates'.

"I think a change of system was the key element for us winning the game, which then brought better outstanding quality from us in wide areas.

"Our two centre-forwards that we bought paid massive dividends with the quality of the headers off brilliant crosses, and that really in the end put Burnley to bed after they had a very lively first half.

"Then Carlton comes on and scores a third when we've gifted them a goal to get back into it, which just summed up our performance today. It's our first back-to-back victories and it's fantastic that we're now on 13 points."

Valencia and Sakho were both summer signings, and the latter, who joined from French side Metz, has now scored in six successive games.

Allardyce said: "He is a bargain. This lad has been very exciting, and he's excited the rest of the players.

"I think all our players that were here last season, having had some of the depressing times that they didn't expect, have all been lifted by the new players and their performances have increased as well as the news lads hitting the ground running.

"We just hope it continues. It's too early to say what we're going to be or what we're going to do but things are looking very good.

"If we get into December and we're still getting results and maintaining a top-half position, then we can start thinking about maybe maintaining that for the rest of the season."

Burnley remain without a victory since their promotion back to the top flight, and this was a particularly tough loss after all the chances they created.

Inside the first 10 minutes Boyd hit the bar and Lukas Jutkiewicz saw a goal correctly chalked off for offside, while Danny Ings headed just wide at 2-1 and substitute Ashley Barnes struck the bar late on.

Manager Sean Dyche said: "We're learning the hard way the harsh reality of the Premier League. You have to take your chances.

"It was a very good display in the first half. You know in the second half you've got to come out quicker than that. We came out a little bit easy.

"They changed their tactics a bit, stretching the pitch quicker and playing into the top third quicker, and we just didn't quite deal with it early enough to get a foothold in the game.

"The mentality's right, we just need to continue the challenge, which is to find that moment of truth in front of goal to score more regularly.

"We're not naive. You've got to win games and we've got to find a way. We don't want the story to be, 'good old Burnley played well again but didn't win'."