Sam Allardyce, excuses, and failure to own responsibility 6

At 12pm yesterday, it would have taken an impressive effort for any Premier League manager other than Jose Mourinho to be this morning’s talking point.  The modern game loves a soap opera, and the Portuguese’s appearance on Goals On Sunday has already been transcribed by several national newspapers.

Yes, really.

But then came Sam Allardyce…

West Ham threw away a two-goal lead at White Hart Lane and suffered the bite of a last-minute equaliser, and Allardyce hasn’t taken that particularly well.  The details of his rant are incidental - the time-keeping issue, the accusations towards Harry Kane, the pretence that his side are in some way morally superior - because, in all likelihood, this was just another manager inventively trying to avoid taking the blame for his tactical failings.

A Primark-Mourinho, if you like.

But isn’t this just classic Allardyce?

West Ham were brilliant for seventy minutes yesterday and nobody can contest that they deserved their two-nil lead.  That they didn’t leave White Hart Lane with all three points, however, was less a result of the referee’s performance or a Tottenham resurgence, and more an inevitable consequence of their manager’s negativity.

It doesn’t matter how poorly a team are playing, if they are allowed to have easy possession and if they are allowed to launch attack-after-attack - virtually unopposed - from their own half, eventually they will create chances.

There has to be a point, eventually, where Sam Allardyce shoulders responsibility as enthusiastically as he claims credit.  When he wins, he’s always very eager to grandstand in front of the media, but when he loses he invariably finds new and more inventive ways to channel the blame away from himself.

His tactical decisions yesterday - the removal of Mark Noble and the intentional weakening of that resilient three-man midfield - were responsible for everything that happened between the 70th and 95th minute.  Yes, Noble was on a yellow-card and had perhaps been lucky to escape a red minutes before his substitution, but protecting him from the referee was still a judgement call that went wrong and a decision for which Allardyce is ultimately responsible.

There’s more than one reason why the relationship between him and the West Ham supporters is less than harmonious, but this unquestionably contributes to the friction.  Fans don’t want to hear excuses or wild conspiracy theories, they want answers and reassurance.  Allardyce never provides that though, and his explanations for dropped points are always infuriatingly built around self-preservation.

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