'Saturday was only one game but it was a great start' (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Sam Allardyce on ongoing quest to improve West Ham United squad
10:41am Monday 19th August 2013 in Sport
Sam Allardyce believes his current West Ham squad is the best he has worked with since starting out in management.
The Hammers began their new campaign with an impressive 2-0 home victory over new boys Cardiff City, courtesy of goals either side of half-time from Joe Cole and Kevin Nolan.
On their return to the top flight for the first time since 1962, the Bluebirds did not force keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen into a single save and combined with their exciting attacking options which sealed the opening day win, Allardyce is optimistic his side can better last season’s total of 50 points.
The 58-year-old told the club’s official site: “Here we’re improving the side by spending money on better players than we’ve already got.
“We’ve started to show that we’ve improved the squad and hopefully we’ll continue to grow.
“We’ve added Stewart Downing, but we’ve also got the best crosser in the league from last season in Matt Jarvis.
“We also have Joe Cole on the other side and that’s competition for places in those key areas. They offer opportunities for other players to get into the box and score goals so let’s hope we can enjoy what they give us.
“Saturday was only one game but it was a great start.
“When the window has closed I will calculate how much money has been spent by everyone as well as ourselves and that will give us an indication on what we might be able to achieve.”
The Irons now make the long trip north to St James Park to take on former Hammers’ boss Alan Pardew and Newcastle United.
Kevin Nolan’s goal separated the two teams in the corresponding fixture last season.
West Ham started the 2012/13 Premier League campaign with a 1-0 Upton Park win over Aston Villa but faltered on their first away outing at Swansea City and Allardyce is hoping his side will not suffer a similar fate this time around.
“Ginge’s (James Collins’) backpass cost us and we lost 3-0,” said Allardyce.
“In the end we deserved it and the lads have got to be determined not to do it again.
“There could be a tendency to think ‘we’re West Ham, let’s take it easy this week’.”
“No, we’ve got to grit our teeth. I had the lads in on Sunday doing a warm down and making sure they are ready for Newcastle.”