West Ham manager Sam Allardyce has accused his players of having a '90-minute off spell' in their 2-1 defeat at Wigan on Saturday and challenged them to return to the passing style he claims to be promoting in a bid to get back to winning ways.
The cynics who believe Allardyce's mantra is very much based on a long ball plan will scoff at his claims that the success enjoyed by the Hammers since his arrival at the club in the summer of 2011 has been based on free-flowing football, yet the experienced coach insists his revised philosophy is based on a passing style that his players failed to deliver at the DW Stadium.
"The one thing that has got us where we are is that our technique has been very good in possession, which has kept the pressure off us at home and away from home and allowed us to get results that perhaps people didn't expect us to," Allardyce told the Hammers website.
"When you play at this level and you want to win a game away from home you've got to play to your best. We didn't do that on Saturday at any time at all really.
"The defeat was down to us as a unit not doing anything well enough in possession - not keeping the ball, not playing the ball in the right areas, not playing quality balls to the front-three and delivering. It just never happened, the quality wasn't good enough.
"I was surprised at our performance and it was the kind of performance that you know you've got to avoid when you're a newly-promoted side playing away from home. We've got to give 100% in every game because we you don't we'll get punished and we didn't do that on Saturday. You can have an off-spell but not an off-spell for 90 minutes."
With games against Newcastle, Tottenham, Manchester United and Chelsea on West Ham's horizon, Allardyce has challenged his players to bounce back from their worst performance of the season in the grand manner.
"When you look at the fixtures we've got coming now, we've got a group that if you give anything other than your very best it is going to be a problem to get a result and even your best might not be enough," he suggested.
"We had a very good performance against Arsenal and still got beaten 3-1 and now the big boys are coming round on a regular basis, we'll have to see if we can hit top form consistently. You've got to minimize your slip-ups."
Meanwhile, Allardyce has claimed on-loan striker Andy Carroll is getting a raw deal from referees, as he is still seeking his first goal for the Hammers following his temporary switch from Liverpool.
"He gets manhandled by defenders struggling to handle the quality that he's got," added Allardyce of his England hitman. Referees don't seem to give the free-kicks that they would perhaps give against shorter players. Andy knows all that, so he's just got to be patient with it."