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Comment by Dave Evans
, West Ham Correspondent
Thursday, March 22, 2012
Another home draw and the chances of West Ham gaining automatic promotion seem to be receding, but how much of that is down to the manager?
Bad refereeing decisions, so-called wonder goals, no luck, brilliant goalkeeping. They were just some of the excuses on offer from West Ham boss Sam Allardyce on Tuesday night after the 1-1 draw with Middlesbrough.
But the stark truth is, West Ham are simply not tactically astute enough to break down well-organised teams on their own ground and that looks like costing them automatic promotion.
"We changed the way we played three times," said the boss afterwards, as if that was a good thing.
"We changed the shape and the way we played at half time and that is why we got in the game more.
"Then we changed the way we played with the substitutes, so that was three times."
How many times has that happened this season? Plenty, but it merely confirms that Allardyce fails to line-up his team properly from the start of home games.
One up front, Nicky Maynard looking like a little lost boy, no pace in the middle of the park and then bringing on Jack Collison to shut the shop when it was 1-0 am I missing something with these tactics?
But still, we had the excuses.
"A bounce of the ball in the right area, a mistake from the opposition, a goal that bounces in off somebody's knee can make the difference, but at the moment, the rub of the green is just not with us.
"The referee could have changed it for us if he gives the right decision on our two penalty shouts."
Allardyce could have changed it himself if he picked the right team and played the right tactics from the start.
Nobody can fault his team's away displays this season, they have been magnificent, but you have to possess a little bit extra to unlock stubborn defences at home and playing keep ball in midfield and defence, or pumping high balls up the field are just not going to do it.
Things need to change and quickly because time is running out for Allardyce and fast.