Belfast Telegraph

Go down if contact sufficient - Sam

Sam Allardyce would not prevent his players from "making a meal" out of contact if it meant his West Ham side were given the decisions they deserved.

The Hammers boss was left irked by referee Neil Swarbrick during Sunday's 2-1 Barclays Premier League defeat to Arsenal at Upton Park after the Gunners were awarded a penalty and the hosts were denied a late spot-kick.

Winston Reid was adjudged to have felled Santi Cazorla in the box, with Swarbrick pointing to the spot as the Spaniard went to ground under the challenge, but - with West Ham chasing a stoppage-time equaliser - Morgan Amalfitano decided to stay on his feet when challenged by Kieran Gibbs.

With both Chelsea and Sunderland profiting from controversial penalty decisions against the Hammers in recent weeks, Allardyce believes going to ground when caught by the opposition may be the only way to bring a foul to the attention of the officials.

"As long as it's not simulation - as long as you get the right decision from it," he said when asked if a player needed to fall over to get a foul.

"If you're not touched and you go down because you're not touched, that's not the way forward. But if you can't get what you ordinarily should get, then you've got to consider the fact that if you make a meal of it, you make a meal of it because the contact is sufficient enough.

"The contact on Amalfitano was sufficient enough to put him off getting the ball cleanly in that position to try to help us score a goal. It impeded him from getting a better contact on the ball.

"Like I said, that's where a penalty should be given and if that's the case then it would be much better across the board.

"As difficult as it is for referees, those are the decisions that they should be capable of giving. All the other infringements are here and there, if you like, but then when it comes to major decisions, it's how the goal is judged and how the referee is judged.

"A very good game from a referee can't evolve being 99 per cent great and then the one per cent being one major decision he's got wrong, because then he's had a bad game - like a goalkeeper can be brilliant and then all of a sudden he drops one ball and it gets put in the net and he's had it.

"Unfortunately the referees are not brave enough to give those penalties because, in the surroundings and the atmosphere in the stadiums, it doesn't look like one, but their job is to identify if it is or not."

West Ham welcome managerless West Brom to Upton Park on New Year's Day looking to halt a run of two defeats over the festive period, albeit to Chelsea and Arsenal, with Allardyce having an almost-full squad to select from for the visit of the Baggies.

James Tomkins is suspended and Mauro Zarate will play no part as a loan move across London to QPR edges closer.

Fellow summer recruit Enner Valencia is likely to be involved.

Meanwhile, James Morrison insists there is nowhere for the West Brom players to hide as he bids to impress Tony Pulis.

Former Stoke and Crystal Palace manager Pulis will watch from the stands when the Baggies go to Upton Park and is expected to be confirmed as their new head coach before the weekend.

Press Association Sport understands he will sign a two-and-half-year deal to replace the sacked Alan Irvine.

Pulis will be Albion's fourth head coach in just over a year and Morrison knows places are not guaranteed.

"You've got to impress the new head coach to get in the team," he told the club's official site.

"We've got a big squad here, a lot of new players came in at the start of the season who are champing at the bit to play.

"So you've got to be on top of your game to get in the side.

"Rob (Kelly, assistant head coach) is a good guy. Keith (Downing) and Deano (Dean Kiely) are also there who have been here for a number of years and have a good bond with the players.

"So everyone is pulling in the right direction and in the right frame of mind.

"It's a fresh start. We've got to be putting in 100 per cent and getting a win for the fans, who deserve more."

The Baggies are 16th in the Barclays Premier League, a point above the drop zone, after seven defeats in their last nine games.


From Belfast Telegraph