Sam Allardyce accepts survival a 'big ask' after 3-1 defeat to West Ham

Leeds manager Sam Allardyce fears it will be a "big ask" to secure Premier League survival, particularly if injured attackers Patrick Bamford

Avignyan Mukhopadhyay
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Sam Allardyce | Sportz Point

Leeds manager Sam Allardyce fears it will be a "big ask" to secure Premier League survival, particularly if injured attackers Patrick Bamford and Rodrigo are not fit for next week's final game against Tottenham.

Three seasons after they were promoted to the top flight, Leeds know they will be relegated back to the Championship if they fail to beat Spurs.

Even that will not be enough if Everton win their final game against Bournemouth or Leicester pick up four points from their last two matches.

After Sunday's 3-1 loss at West Ham, former Manchester City defender Micah Richards told Sky Sports: "It looks pretty bad for Leeds now. It is devastating".

Full-back Luke Ayling insists Leeds still have a "slim" chance of staying up. But Allardyce feels it depends on the availability of Bamford, who had to be replaced in the first half against West Ham with a hamstring injury, and Rodrigo, who was eventually substituted after playing through the pain of a foot problem.

"If both are missing, it is a big ask. Fact," he said. "I can't hide that. I might have to play a completely different system."

That Sam Allardyce concluded his post-match news conference by crossing his fingers, and saying he "hoped" any post-season discussions with the Leeds hierarchy would be with the Elland Road club still in the Premier League, says plenty about the trouble they are in.

"Lots of people said I was mad to take the job," he said. "I am not mad. I love football and it was too big a job to turn down, no matter how short it was."

Ayling knows the predicament Leeds are in. But despite many visiting supporters leaving London Stadium before the end, the defender continues to look at the situation optimistically.

"There is still a tiny bit of hope. We have to grab on to that," he said. "We just have to go out there next week and try and take care of our business.

"We know it a slim chance but we have to hang on to that and try and go out in a good way because the fans deserve that."

Leeds started brightly, with Rodrigo putting the visitors in front with a goal that, briefly, took them out of the relegation zone.

But they failed to fully capitalise on a decent start and when West Ham got into their groove they were too good.

"When it was only 1-0 after 15 minutes, after we had played so well, given we have struggled to keep a clean sheet for a long period of time, I knew it was going to be hard," said Allardyce.

"Our quality at both ends is what we lack, to defend better and create more opportunities. Those two critical areas are particularly disappointing for us and when you are looking for your substitutes to make a difference, none of them did."

Sam Allardyce says he knows what is wrong at Leeds and has the experience of more than 1,000 games to understand how to put it right.

But having won just one point from three games after being brought in to salvage a desperate situation when Javi Gracia followed Jesse Marsch in getting sacked, whether he gets asked is another matter entirely.

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