Sam Allardyce blamed the “fear factor” after West Ham threw away victory against Leeds at Upton Park yesterday.
The Hammers were leading 2-1 heading into the final minute, but just as they had in their opening-day defeat by Cardiff, they were defending deeper and deeper and were punished when Adam Clayton grabbed a dramatic equaliser.
“When you are 2-1 up at home you have to take responsibility for seeing the game out,” said Hammers chief Allardyce. “You don’t put pressure on yourself and unfortunately we did. We don’t do what needs to be done to get the result, we’ve lacked the professionalism.
“Away from home it’s not been a problem, the opposition haven’t had a sniff, but here it puts a fear factor in everybody before they turn up at the next home game.
“That fear factor means everyone at the stadium is going to be edgy next time and that makes it very difficult for us to win matches.
“To win two away and then falter at home is a great shame but that anxiety will not go away until we win a game.”
Middlesbrough moved into third spot after staging a second-half comeback against Birmingham.
It was the Blues who went in front courtesy of an Adam Rooney penalty in the 36th minute.
But Barry Robson levelled three minutes after the interval before new signing Faris Haroun made it 2-1 with a debut strike. And another summer signing, former French Under-21 international Malaury Martin sealed the come from behind win.