Sam Allardyce remained defiant over his record as West Ham manager after assessing his former club’s 4-3 defeat to Bournemouth on BBC Match of the Day.
Allardyce left Upton Park after four seasons in charge when his contract was not renewed at the end of the previous campaign.
His successor Slaven Bilic – a former crowd favourite when he starred as a defender for West Ham during his playing days – oversaw a surprise 2-0 win at Arsenal on the opening weekend of the season.
But that performance has now been followed up by back-to-back home losses to Leicester and Bournemouth, the type of results West Ham largely avoided when Allardyce established them among the early pacesetters last term.
Their form fell away after Christmas as familiar criticisms of Allardyce’s perceived tactical pragmatism resurfaced among sections of the West Ham support
But the former Bolton Wanderers and Blackburn Rovers boss offered a withering response on Saturday to the accusation that he departed from the fabled “West Ham way”.
“I still don’t know quite what the West Ham way is,” he told host Gary Lineker.
“I always thought that playing attractive football and winning [was the West Ham way].
“But the winning is the first priority, we all know that. Then playing very well.
“We did that last year – certainly the first half [of the season], we didn’t quite manage it in the second half. We played some exciting football.”
Asked whether he felt under-appreciated at West Ham, having guided the club to promotion from the Championship at the first time of asking in 2012, Allardyce added: “I think at times you do.
“There are times you feel the criticism is a little harsh – when you’ve taken them from where they started to where they’ve got to.
“There’s always a big expectation based on what you achieve and can you achieve more than that. And there’s always been a big expectation at West Ham
“I always felt it was a small minority [opposed to Allardyce] who made a lot of noise, either verbally or on social media. I never thought it was the vast majority personally.”
When Lineker and fellow former England striker Alan Shearer poured over error-strewn performances by West Ham full-backs and Allardyce signings Carl Jenkinson and Aaron Cresswell in the Bournemouth loss, the 60-year-old jokingly replied: “They didn’t make those mistakes while I was there.”
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