West Ham: New signings were the difference, says Big Sam

By Rob Virtue on August 23, 2014 11:19 PM |

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West Ham's wait for their first win of the season didn't take long as the Hammers run out 3-1 winners against managerless Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Saturday.

On the back of last week's devastating defeat at the hands of rivals Tottenham Hotspur, the Hammers settled their second London derby game in style, with Mauro Zarate stealing the show with an outstanding performance on his full debut.

Gaffer Sam Allardyce was ecstatic about how his players attacked and showed the clinical finishing the manager has craved was finally sinking into his players.

"The quality of our finishing was superb today, but the performance was also something to be happy with," he said.

"Opening the opposition up is very difficult, certainly away from home, and you can see that with the quality of the goal we had to beat them by today.

"Zarate and Downing's finishes were of the highest quality which Palace couldn't complain about. That was the icing on top of the cake for a first half performance. After the early goal we conceded, we still controlled the second half and it capped off the perfect performance by the players."

Allardyce praised all three of his new signings that started, Cheikhou Kouyate, Aaron Cresswell and Zarate, saying he's never seen three players settle into the Premier League as quickly as this in 11 years in management.

"I've seen one or two hit the ground running, but for all three is something special," he said.

"Last week both Kouyate and Cresswell were very good, and they were very good today. Mauro was equally as good because he found the quality that we needed for the goal. It's a really good comeback from a disappointing result last week."

Zarate, a summer signing from Velez Sarsfield of Argentina, produced a moment of magic with his volley from just outside the area, before Stewart Downing gave Joel Ward the slip and his expert finish from 20 yards out was no match for Julian Speroni.

Former Hammer Marouane Chamakh responded quickly in the first half, but Carlton Cole sealed the points with his instinctive finish from 12 yards out.

After last season's goal shy campaign, former West Ham favourite Teddy Sheringham was brought in as a forward coach.

Allardyce expressed his delight at having him on board, saying his experience is invaluable.

"There's a lot of things Teddy can do on his own or in a group with the players," he said.

"The one problem Teddy has is with the Sports Science department, suggesting the players are out on the training field for too long for a game for the following day.

"But the players look forward to it, Teddy's fitted in very well and hopefully if we continue to show the finishing qualities we showed today, I don't mind him taking the credit for it."

West Ham have a break from the Premier League as they take on Sheffield United in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday evening, before resuming to normal service when they play host to Southampton on Saturday.

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