After West Ham's humiliating exit from the FA Cup at Sheffield Wednesday, manager Sam Allardyce has put his hands up and admitted that his tactical limitations are behind West Ham's failure to score more than a single goal in each of the last seven games.
Speaking after the long journey back to London, Allardyce said: "Some managers might seek to make excuses. They might blame the forwards, or the keeper for making a terrible error, or the missed penalty, or Sears for missing a sitter, or claim that it was a difficult match with difficult opposition, but how would that help?"
"The simple fact is that we were playing against a poor team from the third tier of English football managed by a complete clown. Any team I sent out there, if properly prepared, should have won that game comfortably."
"You simply can't keep making the same old excuses. The truth is, the owners backed me and allowed me to build my own squad. I chose to sign Carew and Baldock, our front two today, and it was my decision to sign Lansbury, the creative midfielder in the side."
"So how can I lay the blame at any door other than my own? I have built a one dimensional side, a side lacking width, pace and imagination. That's not the players' fault, or the fault of the owners, that's my fault. We have been rubbish for seven games now and the belief amongst the fans that our poor play, even when winning, was simply down to a question of gelling has been disproved. To be honest, we have only played well in a handful of games all season, the rest of the time we have ridden our luck. And our luck has run out."
"I also made the decision to rest Rob Green and play Boffin today, even though Rob has already had a holiday this season when injured. He didn't need to sit this game out did he? And I knew Boffin wasn't good enough, which is why I signed Almunia on loan when Rob was injured. No, the decision to leave Green on the bench was stupid, crassly stupid, and I've nobody to blame except myself for that."
"So I hold my hands up. West Ham have a great Cup tradition and I have let the fans down, just as I did in the League Cup. I am trying to get things right but I must admit that, tactically, I am at a loss what to do. I know one way to play and that one way, direct, long, down the middle, isn't working. But who knows, if we keep trying, it may all click and we may start scoring again. We have to hope so, don't we?"