• Cole and Nolan goals see off Premier League newcomers
• 'We were competitive but for a couple of great finishes'
After 51 years out of the top division, perhaps it was to be expected that Cardiff City would take a while to find their feet and, while no one could fault their enthusiasm, this was an inauspicious start to life in the Premier League. Before kick-off at Upton Park, blue smoke was billowing out of the away end but Cardiff rather fizzled out after that, their challenge swiftly extinguished by an excellent goal from Joe Cole that set West Ham on their way to a comfortable victory.
This was a drab, disappointing performance from a side who were promoted as champions and then spent £28m this summer. Cardiff did not manage a single shot on target and failed to create a notable chance until West Ham were 2-0 up and cruising. It is part of a manager's job to attempt to deny the undeniable and accentuate the positives, but it was hard to take Malky Mackay's comments about the game entirely seriously.
"Overall I think we showed real belief in terms of getting on the ball, shifting the ball and getting in areas where we caused them difficulties," he said. "It is just about making sure we do that more often and cutting out silly errors."
Yet there was rarely any point when West Ham looked in danger of relinquishing their lead, especially against a Cardiff attack shorn of the injured £7.5m Danish striker Andreas Cornelius. Mackay was at least able to name Steven Caulker and Gary Medel, the club's record signing at £11m, but the latter was swamped by West Ham's midfield and there was a lack of imagination about Cardiff. Next for them is the visit of Manchester City on Sunday.
"It doesn't get much bigger than playing at home against one of the biggest teams in the country," Mackay said. "It is a hugely important day for the club after all its ups and downs. We have to make sure we perform against a top team.
"But it is about results over a season. It is about this group growing and over a period of time being competitive. For vast parts of this game we were competitive but for a couple of great finishes."
It was true that there was little Cardiff could do about West Ham's goals, Cole finishing sharply after 13 minutes and Kevin Nolan curling home gloriously with 14 minutes left. Although West Ham were without Andy Carroll, who is yet to train with the first team after a heel injury, Sam Allardyce is pleased with the squad he is building, especially in the wide positions. Cole scored from a Matt Jarvis cross and Stewart Downing made a promising late cameo on his debut.
However, Allardyce, wily and battle-hardened, is not getting carried away. "It's only one game," he said. Some solace for Cardiff, then.
Man of the match Joe Cole (West Ham)