It has been a very, very good month for West Ham but the test for the players now is to keep the momentum going and kick on to get results against sides like this weekend’s opponents. With only six or seven points separating the bottom half of the table, it’s imperative the performance levels remain the same and we are still picking up points because otherwise we will be dragged back into the relegation battle again.
Don’t get me wrong, I know we aren’t going to win every game but we’ve got brilliant momentum at the moment which is something we’ve not had all season. I honestly think that if we keep playing like we are, we will be safe by the time we play Tottenham and our final two games won’t matter as much as people may have thought they would at the beginning of January.
Having said that, the next four or five games are key and we need to pick up as many points as we can, even from the tough games, because the teams around us will be picking up points. The Chelsea game was the turning point for us in my opinion. Every player was putting their body on the line and jumping in front of the ball when the Chelsea players were about to shoot.
I’ve been in a similar situations to what West Ham are in when I was at West Ham and before that when I was at Birmingham and you need players to do that and against Chelsea, everyone did that. Regardless of what Jose Mourinho said, it was a brilliant performance and a fantastic point.
Swansea and Norwich are both sides we should be beating at home so I wasn’t too surprised to see us beat them and to be honest, I had a feeling that we would come away with something from Villa Park because we’ve had some great results there in the past. Having said that, I was pleased to see the performance levels carried over from the Chelsea game and thought we were good for the three points in each game.
The big talking point after the Swansea game – and for most of this month – has been Andy Carroll’s sending off. I personally think Andy meant to do what he did but my argument to others has been if the FA were asked to look at this sending off, then they surely had to look at Chico Flores’ behaviour? What he did was disgraceful and he was cheating end of. Yes, Andy Carroll caught him on the top of the head but not the face like Flores lead everyone to believe.
I find it really hard to take that the FA can look at this incident and do nothing about Flores. He cheated Andy Carroll, West Ham and the fans and it’s not the first time he has done this. This whole saga proved to me that the FA just haven’t got the balls to take tougher action against players like Flores and it’s getting worse in the modern game. I was talking about this to Billy Bonds and Alvin Martin recently and I was saying how I’ve noticed this play acting is tried by the kids I coach.
They go down and just stay down. There are times, of course, when they are injured but when I can see they are faking and I tell them they will have to go off, you wouldn’t believe how quickly they get up and run around again like nothing is wrong. Kids watch players like Flores and they idolise them so of course they are going to copy what they do. The FA needs to start clamping down on this now before it’s too late and it’s rife in the Premier League.
There has also been a lot of coverage this month on Ravel Morrison’s loan move to QPR but I believe Sam Allardyce knows what he is doing with this and West Ham have done well without Ravel in the team. When he first came into the side, people were saying he was going to be the next Alan Devonshire but that was never going to happen; there is too much hype and pressure on young players. I have also spoken to a few people recently who have branded Matty Taylor as a bit of an unsung hero but I just don’t agree with this.
I don’t think we’ve had any unsung heroes in the side this season. It’s not just about the last three games but about the whole season. Apart from our recent run of four games, we’ve been rubbish this season. Sure, we are 11th now but we need to look back at the games we were rubbish to see which players really were giving it their all.
As I said earlier, the good run we are on started with that result at Chelsea and it really showed what can be done with hard work. I don’t think there has been one player responsible for this run — it has just been everyone in the team working hard for each other. That’s what it is all about, everyone working together and pulling in the same direction.
We are going to lose games between now and the end of the season but the test is going to be how we react when we lose. The aim for the rest of this season, in my opinion, should now be to make sure we survive. Personally I don’t mind if we finish 17th because then hopefully before next season we can bring in a few new players in the summer and look to progress and kick on next season.