I don’t know quite what to say about West Ham anymore. I’m running out of good things to say which is unbelievable really. I thought it might be a bridge too far for us to go to Everton and get a result. Yes, we’ve had a fantastic season and we’re on a good run but the Toffees are our bogey side. To fight back in the manner we did and win the game is what I’m really loving about this team at the moment. There’s a belief that we will win and they just don’t give up.
That’s such a new feeling for us and it’s a belief that goes right through the team. Every single player on the pitch gives everything and they are playing with such freedom at the moment. I know Romelu Lukaku scored against us again. I can forgive Reece Oxford for the goal because he is still learning his trade. I didn’t like how Aaron Lennon ghosted his way through the defence to score his goal but let’s gloss over that because the comeback was sensational.
It’s the best way to win a football match, but we’ve done it all this season. We have ground out results, we’ve come back and recouped plenty of points, and we’ve had everything else in between. We’ve also scored goals from open play, from well-worked set pieces and in the air. I’m just running out of ways to praise the team.
Slaven Bilic’s substitutes against Everton were positive at 2-0 down, bringing on Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho. He never thinks that we are beaten, neither do the players, and I just love that about us right now. I was also loving Michail Antonio on Goals on Sunday. He seems like such a nice kid and I loved the fact that he was going to sign for Spurs but his Mum said no – there is a song in there somewhere. It was also interesting that he said he knows he is going to score when he is on the pitch. He knows the ball is going to find its way to him in a good position.
It’s the sort of thing you hear from winners. We’ve not had this belief since the Boys of ‘86 – when they said they would walk out on to the pitch knowing they would win, rather than hoping they would. There’s a big difference between the two. I must admit I was a bit insulted when our magnificent Spurs victory was described as a ‘shock’ by some pundits.
We’ve beaten Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool, and Chelsea – there was nothing to suggest that Spurs coming to the Boleyn was a gimme. We were up for it, and the game reminded me of the spirit of ‘86. If we manage to break into that top four and stay there until the end of the season, it will be a similar achievement to that which Tony Cottee, Frank McAvennie, and co managed to do 30 years ago. With all the money that Arsenal and City have spent on players, to finish in the top four would be our biggest achievement we have had since 1986, without doubt.
It’s funny to think the only team we’ve not beaten – or even looked like we would on the day – has been Leicester, and it’ll be interesting to see how we get on against them when we visit them in April. The confidence of both sides is through the roof, and we could still be in the hunt for a fourth place as well as the Foxes being in title race. It’ll also be interesting to see how Bilic sets us up for this game. I love watching him on the side lines kicking and heading every ball.
The way he sets up the team every week, you can see that he has done his homework on the opponents. He doesn’t just say to the team and staff, this is what we are doing and that’s it. He also changes things during the game when things aren’t going to plan like at Everton. There aren’t many managers in the Premier League who have the ability to be able to do that in a positive way, and Slav has done it a few times already this campaign.
Finally, I think our win against Spurs was a massive dent in their hopes of winning the Premier League, and I think it showed there are chinks in their armour. Every team has the opportunity every now and again to have a say in how things are decided, whether that’s who wins the league, who gets relegated or who gets into Europe.
As well as denting Spurs’ hopes and the possibility of damaging Leicester’s chances, we’ve also got to play Arsenal too. But we’ve still got plenty to play for ourselves and for once in a long time, we’ve got the chance to create our own history, rather than ruining the party for others.