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West Ham’s Cottee: A settled defence is the secret to stopping sloppy early goals

PUBLISHED: 11:30 22 March 2017

West Ham legend Tony Cottee

West Ham legend Tony Cottee

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Our West Ham Columnist Tony Cottee sticks by under-pressure keeper Darren Randolph

Leicester City's Shinji Okazaki (left) and West Ham United's Cheikhou Kouyate battle for the ball during the Premier League match at London Stadium.Leicester City's Shinji Okazaki (left) and West Ham United's Cheikhou Kouyate battle for the ball during the Premier League match at London Stadium.

Another game gone with another defeat and I have to say that the three goals we let in against Leicester were very poor defensively.

However hard we pushed in the second half, you just cannot let in early goals and expect to come back again and again.

One of the problems we have had this season is that we have not had a settled defence.

If you asked me what our best defence is, or even our best defensive formation, then I have to admit I don’t know what our best team is and that is a worry and something we will need to address for next season.

West Ham United goalkeeper Darren RandolphWest Ham United goalkeeper Darren Randolph

But for now we need to find out why we are letting in sloppy, early goals.

I don’t think you can say it is attitude, I think players go out with the best intentions, but one thing I have to say is that defending needs to start from the front.

I was guilty in the past myself. I always used to think that if we had scored two goals, it is the defence’s fault that we have let in three, but that is certainly not the case.

Some people are calling for Darren Randolph to be dropped and though he may have been culpable for the first goal, I still think that he is our number one.

West Ham United's Andre Ayew celebrates scoring his side's second goal of the game during the Premier League match at London Stadium.West Ham United's Andre Ayew celebrates scoring his side's second goal of the game during the Premier League match at London Stadium.

You have to base it on how many chances he stops, rather than any mistakes and I think he deserves to stay in the team.

At the other end, Kasper Schmeichel showed what a special keeper he is.

I saw him playing against Sevilla in the Champions league and was delighted to see his penalty save and for Leicester to go through and he was at it again on Saturday. His save from Andy Carroll was brilliant.

Another plus was the performance of Andre Ayew, who has been under a lot of pressure because of his big transfer fee and I have always had two questions about him. Where is the best place to play him? And is he going to get enough goals?

He is certainly hitting the net now and so we just need to sort out his position.

It was another defeat, though, and we have some tough games coming up, so many people may start to wobble.

With plenty of injuries looming as well we need to get the points, maybe a couple of wins to get us to safety, because if in a month’s time we are still on 33 points, then panic tends to set in as teams below us win.

I think we have enough to keep out of trouble, but we must use the week off to get ourselves organised and ready for Hull City. COYI!

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