Allardyce had the pressure piled on him in early summer when co chairman David Sullivan said:”‘I don’t want to just aim for the top 10. We should be aiming for the top six,”
And with heavy emphasis Sullivan added: “I want to be looking down the table not up it next season.”
However, following on from an opening-day home defeat Allardyce believes competing for a repeat of their top-half finish two years ago is the limit of what the club can hope for.
He said: “Let’s not forget that year one was a massive over achievement which built expectation.
“Finishing 10th in your first year (after promotion) is a major success, and there’s a backlash to that success always in the game – not just at West Ham, but wherever you are.
“Do fans think you should finish 11th? No, they think you should finish ninth, eighth or seventh. You’ve always got to live with the expectation but we have to stay real and say that if we have a very good season, we can finish better than 10th.
But he added: ‘Across the board, you generally finish around where your wage budget lies,” he said.
“If you’ve got the biggest wage budget then you’re more than likely to finish in and around the top four, generally.
And then you’ve got your 10th or above, then you’ve got below 10th and then you’ve got the bottom end.
“Over the last five or 10 years, most teams finish around where their wage budget is. There are obviously some anomalies in that – some teams one season can have a particularly good season and some teams have a particularly poor season.”
Sullivan’s statement could be seen to put pressure on Allardyce’s position if the Hammers do not make an early impression.
But Allardyce has backed his own experience in providing progress, although he did add a caveat that he needs better luck with injuries than he had last season.
“In terms of what the chairmen and the fans expect, all that’s fine,” he added.
“We can all say that and I want the same, but the reality is we know how to get there – whether we’ll get there is another factor on various anomalies as we go through the season.
“For instance, this week – and it’s only game two – we may only have one centre-half fit and that’s the last thing you want when you’re going into a new season when you’re talking about the same problems you had last December. Already we’re feeling the pinches on the value of the team and the selection process that make or break your season.”
Winston Reid is the only central defender Allardyce definitely has at his disposal for Saturday’s clash at Crystal Palace.
James Collins is suspended and James Tomkins is struggling with a hamstring injury, while full-backs Carl Jenkinson and Joey O’Brien could also be missing.