West Ham’s Cottee: No excuses, it is time for the players to step up to the plate
11:15 21 September 2016
Our West Ham Columnist Tony Cottee wants a reaction from the players
Another week, another defeat and letting in four more goals and that means it is time for the players to step up to the plate and sort this out.
I had my share of wallopings when I was playing and the important thing then and now is to bounce back and quickly.
When you are losing and letting in goals, that is when you really learn about your team, much more than when you win 4-0.
Some of the defending on Saturday at West Brom was absolutely appalling. Arthur Masuaku had looked good up until Saturday, but you have to say he had a real horror of a game out there.
And the fourth goal they scored was riduclous. What are we doing having 10 men forward at a corner when there is only 50 minutes gone?
Someone has to take responsibility in that situation and experienced players like James Collins or Havard Nordtveit should be telling someone to get back on the halfway line – it really was like watching a schoolboy match, it was that bad.
Now is the time for players to stop blaming each other and the priority on Sunday for me is to be solid and keep a clean sheet.
We have some great attacking players, but if you are going to defend like that, then there is no point.
Southampton have had something of an indifferent start to the season, but they have won their last two matches and have quality players like Charlie Austin and Shane Long who will cause any teams problems, not least our defence.
I would not be against playing someone like Reece Oxford in front of the back four as he did at Arsenal last season.
We need to protect that defence and try and get their confidence back because this has been a poor start to the season for us.
Slaven Bilic will be feeling a bit under pressure, managers always are, but I think he has the skills to come through this.
I was at the training ground last Friday and the spirit in the camp seems to be okay, so that is not the problem.
So for me, it is to stop looking around at others and passing the buck. The team have to show that they can do it, starting with the League Cup tie against Accrington and then going into the Southampton game.
I would not be too upset by a dull 0-0 draw, but I am going to stick my neck out and go for a 2-0 win tonight and a narrow 1-0 win on Sunday.