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BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE

Boleyn Ground

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Allardyce defends the defensive

Sam Allardyce has told the Premier League's top managers to stop moaning when teams go to their grounds and shut up shop.

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas criticised the White Hart Lane fans last weekend for not being patient enough as his side tried to break down a Hull side with a massed defence looking to break on the counter.

But Allardyce, whose West Ham side were drawn against Spurs in the Capital One Cup quarter-finals, said: "They (Tottenham) do the same when they play in Europe.

"Chelsea will go away and play the same way at Schalke and play on the break. Manchester United will go away and play the same way.

"They all know that they play that way themselves so they can't really criticise the team that comes to them and sits behind the ball because they do the same in the bigger games, especially in the Champions League.

"So when you hear a manager moaning about that, he should really watch what he is saying because when it comes around and he does it he wants to get some praise for what he does, particularly if he ends up with a result or winning.

"We all have to tactically set out how to nullify the opposition."

Allardyce faces an Aston Villa side on Saturday perfectly suited to a counter-attacking style and he is mindful of the fact that West Ham have lost three league matches so far this season at Upton Park.

Allardyce said: "We are one of those teams who are struggling with points on the board. All that matters at the end is winning matches. Last season at home was a fantastic ride for us. This season it has been bitterly disappointing.

"The players are bound to feel extra pressure and feel more anxious but they have to remind themselves of the good performances they've given and continue in that vein from a confidence point of view.

"We have been severely punished for not taking chances."

Matthew Taylor misses out after suffering a knock in the Capital One Cup victory against Burnley while Mladen Petric is also out for a couple of weeks after aggravating an injury in an Under 21 run-out.

Ricardo Vaz Te misses out, too, after dislocating a shoulder against Swansea on Sunday.

Villa boss Paul Lambert is happy with the progress being made at the club despite a mixed start to the season.

Villa sit 13th in the Barclays Premier League on 10 points after a difficult opening to the campaign which has seen them take on five of the 'big six' sides.

Victories over Arsenal and Manchester City have been the highlights so far but Villa's home form and lack of goals is a concern to many supporters.

However, Lambert can see important steps being made in his second season at the helm following a transitional one last year which saw his side flirt dangerously with relegation.

"We're trying to build something here," he said.

"With the right overall philosophy, with an unwavering work ethic and with a bit of luck along the way, we can get something going here again, no question.

"We have faced five of the top sides already this season. That's some formidable start. We've got a good return from these games, too, and we've actually come away from matches in which we've been beaten feeling genuinely aggrieved.

"There has been progress, absolutely. It's been huge. Look at the comparison between our games against Everton. They came to our place last year and turned us over heavily. We should have done the same to them this time (a 2-0 defeat last weekend).

"The game should have been over in 20 minutes. If we had taken the chances the game would have been finished. That's the reality of it.

"We had great chances certainly to win the game. But, despite the result, it's obvious that the progress has been huge."

Villa's demanding fans have remained patient with their team throughout the difficult moments of Lambert's tenure so far and the Scot believes that underlines the progress being achieved at the club.

"I'm pleased with the team and I'm pleased with the effort the players are putting in and what they're doing in games," he added.

"They have built up a great rapport with the fans and that's not only important, it's a reflection of how our supporters have come to identify with this team in a very short space of time."

Villa will be without striker Gabriel Agbonlahor (ankle) and left-backs Antonio Luna (hamstring) and Joe Bennett (back) for the trip to Upton Park.

ends

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