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Spotlight on Sam Allardyce
11:20pm Wednesday 8th January 2014 in Sport
THE pressure was on West Ham boss Sam Allardyce ahead of his side's Capital One Cup semi-final first leg at Manchester City.
The Hammers are currently second-bottom of the Barclays Premier League, have only one win in their last 13 top-flight games, and went into this contest on the back of a humiliating 5-0 defeat to Sky Bet Championship outfit Nottingham Forest in the third round of the FA Cup.
Here, Echo Sport looks at how Allardyce fared at the Etihad Stadium.
After fielding a hugely inexperienced side at Forest, Allardyce made eight changes to his first XI, with Adrian, Stewart Downing and Modibo Maiga the only players retained.
Roger Johnson, recruited on loan from Wolves this week, went straight into the team while the likes of Mark Noble, Joe Cole, Mohamed Diame and Guy Demel came in.
Allardyce sent his side out in a 4-3-3 formation, which seemed positive enough, but falling 2-0 behind within the first 26 minutes would not have been part of the plan. The visitors were pinned back in their own half increasingly as City attacked again and again.
With West Ham 3-0 down at half-time, Carlton Cole was brought on for Maiga as the second period got under way, but within four minutes City had another goal. Alou Diarra then replaced Mark Noble, and again, the hosts swiftly scored, perhaps leaving Allardyce wishing he had not bothered to try to freshen things up at all. The Hammers' final change saw Razvan Rat come on for Joey O'Brien with 15 minutes remaining.
For most of the first half Allardyce, with his hood up to shield him from the driving rain, sat looking thoroughly fed up as he chewed gum and City cut through his defence.
He shook his head after Negredo's opener, which was a fine finish from a decent delivery, but ultimately a route-one goal.
And his reward for venturing into his technical area towards the end of the first half was to almost immediately see Yaya Toure being allowed to run unchallenged through to the West Ham box and score. He reacted by popping another piece of gum into his mouth.
With the one-way traffic continuing after the break, there was little to improve Allardyce's mood.
The West Ham fans did their best to roar on their team throughout the match in what were all-round miserable conditions for them, and seemed generally to be in good spirits.
But hostile chants towards Allardyce started to emerge from the away section midway through the second half and continued to do so through to the final whistle.