Phil Parkes: West Ham should have enough to stay up

Before the Chelsea game, I have to admit, I wasn’t sure where the next result or even where our next goal was going to come from!

But thankfully there are other bad sides in this league. I watched the Bournemouth game against Newcastle and Bournemouth were so bad. Norwich are poor and Watford are struggling too. Chuck in Villa and there are plenty of sides that we should be finishing above. 

We’ve got to play Norwich, Watford and Villa and if we don’t beat all three then I don’t think we deserve to stay in the Premier League. The performance and result against Chelsea will have given us confidence but I hope we play a different system – a more attacking system – against these other teams.

This whole situation is weird though with football games everywhere on the TV – every night there’s a game on somewhere. And it’s been made weirder by the canned fan noise. I’ve watched a few games and it just seems so funny to have that noise when there’s no atmosphere for the players whatsoever.

The West Ham Wolves game just felt like a training match – it felt like it didn’t matter. To go out there with no crowd, no urgency – it’s tough. VAR hasn’t really been on our side either.

We were very unlucky for that goal not to be given against Chelsea. Every decision that VAR can be analysed are being done so in detail and in-depth. But for some things so close that they are drawing these lines and people are off-side by a toenail – it’s not right. It’s got to be clear and obvious – not half inch offside. Until recently, we had one ref and two linos and it was how they saw it on the day.Sure, there were frustrations but I think VAR is causing more frustrations.

One person who might have felt frustrated at times is Michail Antonio. I’ve always liked him because he will try all day long and never stop running but he can’t do it on his own. The objective of having five in the middle is to have two of those players turning into forwards when you are attacking to help the striker. If they are not doing it, it’s very hard for that guy up top. 

I always felt sorry for Carlton Cole as he often played that role for Sam Allardyce, and it’s a tough job. Some of the best players in the world would struggle to play up top on their own But look, the Chelsea result was encouraging and a good start to the month but the lads need to be up for the rest of our games this month if we want to pull ourselves away from relegation.

With the confidence we have now, we have to go into all our games and look to get a result. One game I am looking forward to is Man United because they are a side I always fancy us to do well against. Out of all the top teams in the league, I always fancy us against them. 

What I really don’t want is for the last game of the season against Villa to decide who goes down. That would be a nightmare for us. It would be good, however, if we both wanted a point each to stay up – you could bet your house the game would end 0-0!

There was a season in the old first division where Coventry and their opponents needed a draw to stay up and the game ended 0-0 with neither side leaving their half! But I hope by the time we reach the Villa game, we are clear of this relegation battle.

Looking back on our season and I still can’t believe it’s come to this and where we are. We were one win away from fourth at one stage and we just nosedived – it was ridiculous. Anderson was a player at the start of the campaign who looked great but I don’t know what’s gone wrong with him.

I was saying to someone the other day that I’d prefer to have Hans Christian Andersen at the moment! He has got the ability but is just not doing it. So many players have under achieved this season – the whole team has under-achieved this year with the quality of players that we have got.

What I do worry about at this time of trouble that we are in is you do need the crowd. I know people talk about West Ham fans getting on the backs of the players but they can give you a lift.

I’m not sure if I would fancy playing in these games with no crowd with so much at stake and under extra pressure

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