Tony Cottee: A rest will do West Ham some good after our poor start

Tony Cottee discusses all things West Ham in his exclusive East london Advertiser column

THE defeat against Manchester United means we have now made our worst start to a season since 1977 and apart from a couple of individual showings we were poor on the night.

Kieron Dyer was the stand-out performer and the midfielder put in a really good performance.

He was the only player willing to travel with the ball and take on players and he was by far our most creative performer on the night, with his pace causing United a host of problems.

He hit the post, beat players for fun and it is such a shame that his career has been blighted by injuries, because he showed what a performer he can be.


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I was also impressed by what I saw in Danny Gabbidon, who was our best defender on the night.

The Welsh centre-half read the game well and made key interceptions and tackles, which I felt saved us from conceding even more.

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I am a big fan of his and what I like is his consistency, something we have lacked since James Collins left the club.

We approached the game in a negative mind-set, starting with 4-5-1, leaving Carlton Cole alone up front as a target man.

There was such a big gap between the midfield and the strikers which provided Carlton with such little support.

I really do feel for Carlton, because as I know myself having led the line on my own, it is the hardest job in the World.

He was winning flick-ons and holding the ball up, but received such little support that we could not press the opposition.

Because of the lack of outlets we often gave the ball away too cheaply. On a few occasions a midfielder would have the ball and because Carlton would have two men on him there would be nobody to pass to, so we would lose the ball and again be under the cosh.

I am not saying we should have gone there all guns blazing, but it was disappointing to see us lose possession so cheaply so often.

Not many would have thought we would get anything at Old Trafford and I see these type of matches as bonus games because they are not hugely relevant to our final league position.

Although we are only three games into the season I believe a rest is a good thing for us right now.

It gives boss Avram Grant time to reassess the squad and try and find a team and formation to get us that vital first win, or even first point because as long as we remain rooted to the bottom of the table the more the pressure is piled on.

Three defeats on the spin cannot be good for morale and a break takes the spotlight away from the club for a short space of time.

Defensively we have been poor and it would have given the boss time to try and sort it out.

Unfortunately, I expect three of the back four who played on Saturday (Matthew Upson, Danny Gabbidon and Jon Spector) will be away with their countries, while Robert Green is injured.

Our first game back is another bonus game as we take on Chelsea at Upton Park.

Nobody expects us to take anything from the game, although hopefully a lot of their players will be tired because of international matches, while Frank Lampard could even miss out.

It leaves the door open for West Ham to get something from the game, but even then the odds are against us.

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