• West Ham manager targets top-10 finish next season
• We've got to find some better players, says Allardyce
Sometimes Sam Allardyce could not win this season, even when he won. The fans' displeasure with the 59-year-old's management style meant that boos occasionally accompanied victories as well defeats. Tottenham are even more unpopular at Upton Park, though, so this result was greeted with uproarious glee and Allardyce reckons there could be plenty more where that came from. Having just secured Premier League survival, he is targeting a top-10 finish next season.
There is a school of thought among many that he is an ideal manager for keeping West Ham in the Premier League but that it will take a more imaginative person for them to grace it. Unsurprisingly, Allardyce does not attend that school. While some would like him replaced in the summer as the club prepare for a third successive season among the elite, the manager is already plotting ways to elevate his side to a higher plane.
He aims to repeat the wonders he worked at Bolton Wanderers, who spent two seasons scrapping for survival after being promoted under Allardyce in 2001 and then, thanks to a series of canny signings such as Jay-Jay Okocha and Youri Djorkaeff, added a thrilling new dimension to their style and achieved four successive top-eight finishes.
"You don't want to go through next season like some of the stages of this one and that really boils down to making a bigger and better squad, no doubt about that," Allardyce said. "I'm not criticising any of the players whatsoever because they've all given as good as they've got, but my job is always to try to improve. You can't stand still in this league so we've got to go out and find some better players."
Satisfied with his team's solidity, Allardyce is especially eager to sign a new striker. Andy Carroll caused havoc against Spurs but even though his header led to Harry Kane deflecting the ball in for West Ham's opening goal, he is not prolific enough and the manager would like a reliable forward so as not to be dependent on Carroll and the ageing Kevin Nolan.
Stewart Downing scored the second – and drew the foul that led to Younès Kaboul being sent off in the 25th minute – but such incision has been often lacking this season. "Talented players are always important at this level of football, players who can keep possession and, more importantly, deliver more in the final third," Allardyce said.
"Fourteen clean sheets in one season is the best I've ever had in my Premier League history so that's one massive goal that we've achieved and we'll try to continue that next year and then add a bit more flair and finishing power. Then we should be trying to finish top-10 or better. We've got to entertain and play the right type of football. But contrary to what everybody says, we do play the right type of football a lot of the time – but not always with the results."
Tim Sherwood, all too aware that the chance of him being at his current club next season seems even slimmer than Allardyce's, is looking ahead only to nextnext Sunday's home game with Aston Villa. "It is important that you send your fans away with some optimism for next year and that's what we intend to do," he said.
Man of match Mark Noble (West Ham)