Wounded West Ham arrive in Wellington

SAM WORTHINGTON
Last updated 17:24 24/07/2014

West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce talks about his team's loss to the Wellington Phoenix.

Sam Allardyce
Getty Images
UNDER PRESSURE: West Ham manager Sam Allardyce.

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West Ham United have arrived in Wellington still licking their wounds from last night's upset loss to the Phoenix in Auckland.

Under-pressure manager 'Big Sam' Allardyce, flanked by captain Kevin Nolan and towering striker Carlton Cole, addressed media in the capital this afternoon ahead of Saturday's tour-ending game against Sydney FC at Westpac Stadium.

Allardyce was relaxed about losing a pre-season game but not overly happy about the Phoenix's physical play.

The Hammers have travelled without midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate and defender James Tomkins, who both picked up injuries from the Eden Park clash.

''They've stayed in Auckland,'' Allardyce said.

''Cheik's gone for a scan just to make sure there's no more damage. Just above the ankle where the boy [Louis Fenton] tackled him... There were one or two naughty challenges but in terms of the tempo, I thought the lads got a really good workout... He was rather fortunate that he didn't break his leg, we're pleased about that.

''He was limping this morning but not as bad as he was last night. And James Tomkins has got a groin strain. There was little point in them flying here today.''

Despite the grumble over Fenton's challenge, Allardyce was impressed by the Phoenix performance.

''Very good. Like every game we play against a team that doesn't compete at our level in the Premier League, they play their best and try extremely hard.

''If you speak to their manager [Ernie Merrick] it was probably one of their better performances, if not the best, that they've had recently. That's what normally happens when the big boys come into town. We're the big boys and we didn't live up to that unfortunately in the early stages. It's pre-season so it's not too big a concern for me.''

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- The Dominion Post

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