Sam Allardyce has targeted victories against Cardiff and Newcastle as the best way to bounce back from West Ham's humiliating 6-0 Capital One Cup thrashing by Manchester City
Allardyce, handed a vote of confidence by owner David Gold and David Sullivan on Monday following the 5-0 FA Cup third-round defeat at Nottingham Forest at the weekend, was subjected to chants of "F*** off Sam Allardyce" in the closing stages of this defeat at the Etihad Stadium.
West Ham now face the demoralising prospect of a second-leg at Upton Park on Jan 21 having to overturn a six-goal deficit. But with crucial Premier League fixtures against Cardiff and Newcastle prior to the semi-final return, Allardyce insists he has no intention of walking away from the job.
"There are times when it is good and times when it is not so good," Allardyce said. "When it is not so good, you have to draw on your strengths and experience to bring players through the difficult times we are facing. That is my job, the first thing in the morning when I get into the ground. We have to get our heads up and stick out chests out and make sure we get it right at Cardiff.
"You get stick as a manager and I’m getting stick, but you take it on the chin. The fans have travelled a long way and seen us get beat and are giving me criticism, but that’s life."
Allardyce insisted that the backing of Gold and Sullivan, delivered in an open letter to fans earlier week, was a genuine show of support, but he admits results will have to improve if he is to survive.
"They really mean it because we keep talking and communicating," Allardyce said. "We are actively communicating between each other on the injured front and trying to bring players into the club.
"But you can’t keep losing matches, that’s for sure. I don’t want it to continue, we know the reasons why, but those reasons won’t save you in the end.
"So my most important two games now are Cardiff City and Newcastle, before we get to the next leg."
Despite the support of the owners, Allardyce has come under fire from former West Ham players in the wake of the City defeat, with former captain Julian Dicks urging the manager to resign.
"I cannot see a way how Sam Allardyce can continue," Dicks said. "They got beat 5-0 by Forest and 6-0 at City and I can understand how the fans feel. The football is not good.
"It costs supporters a fortune to go to Manchester City and it was a case of players not giving a flying monkeys how they performed. The work rate over the last half-a-dozen games has been disgraceful. To watch some of them play is embarrassing."
With West Ham suffering a second 6-0 League Cup semi-final defeat - Lou Macari’s team lost 6-0 to Oldham in a first-leg at Boundary Park in February 1990 - Allardyce claimed the quality of Manuel Pellegrini’s City cannot be overlooked when assessing the result.
"They are a side who have outstanding players because they spend outstanding money," Allardyce said. "What do you expect when you have free transfers against players who cost millions and millions?
"When you have a free transfer left-back [George McCartney] playing at centre-half against Dzeko and Negredo, it shows you the gulf, doesn’t it?
"Let’s face the fact, City have a miles better squad and are on miles better money. For us, it is about not letting the players get too low.
"It’s not unique to us is it? Manchester City have done this to Tottenham and Manchester United.
"We knew they had to have an off night and they didn’t, their finishing was outstanding in every sense of the word.
"We came in the hope we could do something like performing to our best, but we fell foul to a Manchester City with simply great quality and great talent. Our players could not cope with that.
"However hard they tried, and they did, was not good enough to stop the quality and talents Man City have bought on the finance that is available to them."