Phil Parkes: ‘West Ham must cut out the late goals if we are to get the points we deserve’

We should be looking upwards and pushing for the European places - even though they are a curse for sides like us at the moment.

After a super September, it was back down to Earth with a bang in October and I can’t really understand why it happened. After the taste of what we could do in September, it was disappointing to see us only getting one point from our games against Brighton and Leicester.

The last minute goal at Leicester was tough. We also had a lot of the play at Brighton but just couldn’t put the ball away. When you look at the sides at the bottom, like Cardiff, Newcastle, and Palace, and look at our squad, we are on paper so much better than all of them.

It’s just a question of it all coming together consistently. There was so much promise after September that it was going to be good and I do still believe that. You always hear that no side is too good to go down but we really do have a squad that is too good to go down.

We should be looking upwards and pushing for the European places – even though they are a curse for sides like us at the moment. We shouldn’t be looking over our shoulder and it’s very frustrating. The two defeats against Spurs weren’t unexpected. They’ll be up there at the top of the table with Man City, Chelsea and Liverpool.

But it’s such a fine line from having four points from our games against Leicester and Brighton that we arguably deserved to the one point we got. As for the late goal against Leicester, I am at a loss as to why there appear to be so many late goals at the moment.

It didn’t happen in my day and I wonder if it’s just a lack of concentration from today’s players? In my day, Bonzo would be making sure we all kept our focus and minds on the job until the end of the game and you’ve only got to look at the Arsenal side of that era and how many games they won 1-0 to show it can be done.

One player who helped an opposition score a late goal last season was Michail Antonio and I’m not sure what’s happened to him really. The only thing I can think is that when he joined us, people didn’t know much about him and couldn’t handle him. It was like Frank McAvennie. The first season, nobody could get near him but the second year he had two players on him most of the time.

It’s much harder to get freedom and create chances when the opposition gives you so much of their attention but a player of Antonio’s ability should still be able to have an impact and he just isn’t at the moment. I’ve always liked him because while he is raw and naive at times, he never stops running. He just keeps going. I think he is an important part of our new-look squad even though he’s been overlooked somewhat.

As for your big interview this month, Alvin was a young lad on the fringes of the first team when I first came to the club. When he got into the side he was raw and naive but it was clear he had a lot of ability.

He liked to think he was Trevor Brooking the way he tried to bring the ball out of the penalty box but Bonzo and I – as the more experienced players – took him under our wing. He became one of the best centre halves West Ham has ever produced. He was absolutely brilliant for us.

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