Disruption Cost Us - Sam

Last updated : 13 January 2005 By Mark Heys
Sam Allardyce says that performances and results have taken an turn for the better since the return to form of key players such as Jay-Jay Okocha, Ivan Campo and Jussi Jaaskelainen.

Allardyce told the official site that suspensions and injuries had taken it's toll on the team during the past few weeks, but is pleased to have finally ended a run of poor form which saw them winless throughout the month of December.

The Bolton chief feels that his side will start to improve now that players such as El-Hadji Diouf and Ricardo Gardner have returned to the starting eleven after a recent absence.

"I think all my big players are starting to perform better. But it's not just about performances, it's about results and they are coming for us again.

"There have been games such as the one against Manchester United where our performance was pretty good. But we couldn't break them down and got nothing, despite staying in touch for most of the game.

"Everyone talks about the importance of Roy Keane and Ruud van Nistelrooy at United and that's true. But the biggest single factor in their side is Rio Ferdinand because they weren't the same force when he was suspended. We've had a similar kind of major disruption, not just with suspension but with top players going off form.

"I don't think Campo has been the player we know since his horrific facial injury. He's fit again but he hasn't been the Campo of old. It seems to have taken its toll, but he was more like his old self at Ipswich and he's coming back now.Okocha had a couple of groin strains and wasn't quite what he used to be when he came back. Jaaskelainen hadn't been on top of his game but has been better since I rested him for a match.

"We were without Ricardo Gardner for a spell when he picked up a cartilage injury which needed an operation.Then we lost Diouf to a three-match suspension when he was on top of his game. He showed what a difference he makes when he came back. All these players started falling together for one reason or another and it was the wrong time for us."