Sam Allardyce: "I need defenders"

PREMIER LEAGUE: West Ham boss Sam Allardyce has signalled his intention to launch an emergency recruitment drive for defenders after seeing his injury-hit side run ragged at Sunderland.

The Hammers slipped to a 3-0 Premier League defeat at the Stadium of Light on Saturday, with James Collins limping off in agony with a grade three hamstring tear to join George McCartney and Joey O’Brien on the sidelines.

Allardyce clinched a six-month loan deal for Brazilian striker Wellington Paulista on Friday, but will now turn his attention to his back-four after seeing his patched-up rearguard succumb alarmingly on Wearside.

“The big blow for me is not having enough defenders at the moment. There are too many of my defenders injured,” Allardyce said.

“We have had too many injuries recently, but the injury situation with defenders with George McCartney not being here, Joey O’Brien not being here and James Collins getting injured means that the defensive side of our team is particularly weak and short of numbers now.

“I am really going to have to go and try to strengthen that area in the next few days.”

Sunderland went ahead after 12 minutes when Sebastian Larsson smashed home a left-foot piledriver, his first goal of the season, and they never looked back as the Hammers succumbed with barely a whimper.

Adam Johnson doubled the Black Cats’ advantage within two minutes of the restart when he cashed in on Dan Potts’ error, and James McClean made sure of the points with a third 16 minutes from time after Stephane Sessegnon, not for the first time, had terrorised the visitors’ defence.

Allardyce, who saw his side only just fail to beat Manchester United in the FA Cup last weekend, was particularly concerned about the comedy of errors which led to the second goal, which effectively killed off the game.

He said: “Just look at it, it was pathetic, wasn’t it? We have a free-kick and we let the opposition score.

“[Keeper] Jussi [Jaaskelainen] gets us out of jail in the first place by making a really, really good save, and then we mess up the clearance and they score, so it probably sums us up today.

“We didn’t defend correctly, we didn’t have the appetite for defending correctly and nullifying the opposition’s strengths, we never passed the ball as well as we know we can.”

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