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Fulham 2-1 West Ham Prem 20 1314 Daily Mail

last updated Thursday 02nd January 2014, 6:29 PM
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Sami Mokbel at Daily Mail

Fulham (1) 2 West Ham (1) 1

Sam Allardyce has aimed a furious blast at skipper Kevin Nolan, blaming the midfielder for West Ham's damaging defeat at Fulham.

The Hammers manager refused to guarantee Nolan would remain his captain after the 31-year-old received a red card just before half-time for an inexplicable off-the-ball kick on Fernando Amorebieta.

It was the midfielder's second red card in four games following his sending off against Liverpool last month, meaning he will now serve a four match suspension.

And Nolan's actions left Allardyce incensed as West Ham's relegation fears increased at Craven Cottage.

'He's responsible for us losing the game more than anybody else and I don't think there's any doubt about that,' said Allardyce.

'I don't understand it because the indiscretion of what he's done happened straight after what he did at Liverpool.

'I have to find out what's wrong with him because there's certainly something wrong with his mentality at the minute.

'At his age and his experience and with the many years I've known him, I haven't seen this type of reaction or situation that he's put himself into.

'The responsibility of a player is to play the game the best he possibly can and to go out and be disciplined and apply his talents in the correct manner within the rules of the game.

'Not to lose your cool or lose your head and not to do anything silly. You can expect it from someone who is starting out occasionally or is a youngster who is finding his way but not Kevin.'

When asked whether Nolan's actions could cost him the armband, Allardyce replied: 'I'm disappointed with what he's done and time will tell how we deal with the situation; internally as we always do.'

And to compound Allardyce's miserable New Year's Day, key midfielder Mark Noble is the latest player to join an lengthy injury list after he limped off with a calf injury in the 32nd minute.

Noble will undergo a scan today to determine the extent of the injury, but early indications are that he could miss around 10 days.

It all started so swimmingly for the Hammers, too.

They took a seventh minute lead, Momo Diame neatly finishing past David Stockdale after Philippe Senderos misjudged Jussi Jaaskelainen's long kick.

Slowly but surely, though, Fulham took control with John Arne Riise, Adel Taarabt, Dimitar Berbatov and Amorebieta all going close before Steve Sidwell levelled in the 32nd minute, rising above Jaaskelainen to nod home Damien Duff's corner.

Two minutes later, Taarabt thought he'd put his side ahead, but his low drive cannoned off the post.

However, Fulham did go in at half-time with a numerical advantage after Nolan's moment of madness.

Trying to run down Guy Demel's hopeful long ball, Nolan was deliberately blocked off by Amorebieta in midfield.

It should have been a West Ham free-kick for obstruction, nevertheless Nolan's reaction was unforgivable as he aimed a boot at the Spaniard.

Nolan knew what was coming as Amorebieta writhed in pain on the floor and Mark Clattenburg delivered the inevitable by brandishing a red card.

Likewise, Allardyce knew what was coming next: a Fulham onslaught.

And it duly arrived as the home side threw the proverbial kitchen sink at the east Londoners.

Riise, Duff and Taarabt all missed good chances to leave Rene Meulensteen, flanked by new assistant head coach Ray Wilkins for the first time, fearing the worst.

But he need not have worried as Berbatov secured the points in the 66th minute, tapping home at the back post after a flowing move including Taarabt, Alexander Kacaniklic and Scott Parker.

The result moved the west London club out of the bottom three; a far cry from Saturday's humiliating 6-0 defeat at Hull.

'People make more out of the 6-0 than it is. It was a defeat, we lost three points. If we had lost 1-0 people wouldn't have talked too much about it,' said Meulensteen.

'OK, it happened, deal with it, it's gone. That's how we assessed it in the week, that's how I addressed it to the players.

'Look what's in front of you. Look at you can affect rather than what you can't affect.'

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