Boss Sam Allardyce brushed off fans’ fury after West Ham were dumped out of the FA Cup at West Brom.
The Hammers chief was abused and his substitutions jeered by the traveling supporters during their 4-0 thumping at The Hawthorns.
Brown Ideye scored twice while James Morrison and Saido Berahino also netted as the dominant Baggies romped to the win.
Morgan Amalfitano was also sent off for West Ham just 10 minutes after coming on in the second half.
Allardyce defended his team, though, and insisted they could not cope with a packed fixture list.
“Fans get disappointed because there’s 6,500 who have travelled up here and we have built the FA Cup to be one of our big successes this year,” he said.
“When you have travelled this way and the performance has not been as good as they have experienced for most of this season they express their disappointment.
“I am going to defend the players because we couldn’t cope with the injury list and fixture list and it has not given us the level we can play at.
“I can’t afford to get disappointed in things like that, it’s about me supporting the players. They have given everything they could.
“It wasn’t enough but they have done their best. They have given so much in such a short period of time. They were dead on their feet.”
Allardyce also revealed his disappointment at substitute Amalfitano’s reaction after the former Albion loanee was dismissed for pushing Chris Brunt in the face just 10 minutes after coming on.
He added: “It’s irresponsible and the other thing is we are so short of bodies, so the last thing we need is another suspension. I am sure Morgan will be disappointed as well. We will have to cope.”
Ideye had scored just twice in 17 games before his recent run of four goals in his last three games.
He was close to leaving on transfer deadline day but head coach Tony Pulis insisted the B£10million record signing is back on form.
He said: “The difference is confidence, he scored a goal and it’s a weight off his shoulders. He has gone from strength to strength. It’s like a new signing.
“It’s goals and that is what the kid needed. He is no different to any striker. They thrive off confidence and I am very pleased for him, he is a good lad and a decent kid. He has worked hard in training.”
Pulis has lost just once in his first eight games since taking charge at Albion in January and they are also four points above the relegation zone in the Barclays Premier League.
And he insisted he is working on his team’s strengths after they moved into the FA Cup quarter-finals.
“This team has different strengths to what we had at Stoke and Palace,” he said.
“On Wednesday against Swansea you think it is showing a bit of fruition. There’s still a long way to go, we have to keep our feet on the ground and look at it from there. Whatever draw we get we’ll be putting a strong side out to get through.”
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