Tony Cottee Column: Hammers must find a way of breaking down defensive teams

“Burnley put their bodies on the line, only had two chances and took them both.”

There is no doubt about it, Saturday was a hugely disappointing defeat for West Ham at home to Burnley.

The Clarets only had two real chances and they took them both, so credit to them for that.

However, the Hammers need to find a way to break down teams that come to Upton Park and play 10 men behind the ball.

Burnley put their bodies on the line, and with all the chances that West Ham created, you would’ve thought that more of them would have found the back of the net.

However, we hit the post twice, and Kevin Nolan missed a great chance, and we were unlucky.

Sam Allardyce will be devastated with the goals that we conceded too.

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We have been so strong in defending set pieces all season, so to let in two in one game will really hurt Sam and I am sure that he will have the defence working on those in training this week.

However, we remain on the two points a game target that Sam said we needed to get automatic promotion, so there is no need to panic.

I don’t think that the Upton Park hoodoo that haunted us in the early part of the season is there anymore, it’s just that sometimes luck goes your way and sometimes it doesn’t.

Another big blow for the Hammers was losing Matty Taylor on Saturday.

He is a big player for us and offers something different on the left-hand side.

It is not yet known how long he is going to be out for, but we will need him back for the busy Christmas period.

There was some good news on the injury front this week though, and that was the return of Henri Lansbury and Gary O’Neil in a development squad game on Tuesday.

It is great to see those two players back in action, and what is a positive is that they are both midfielders that can play out wide, which is where we are a little short.

Lansbury is a young, promising talent and he is understandably closer to a return that O’Neil is, but it will add more competition to the squad when they are back, which is only a good thing.

This weekend, the Hammers head to Reading and I am confident that we can get back to winning ways at the Madejski.

I think that it is a great game to play against a side that have had mixed results at home, and I believe that we can go there and put in a performance worth of a place in the top two of the Championship.

Our away form this season has been simply outstanding and I think that some credit for that has to go to the away support.

We have sold out our ticket allocation again and it should be a full house for Saturday’s game.

I’m going to put my neck out and say that the Hammers will win 2-1, and return to east London with big smiles on their faces.

The January transfer window is coming up and Sam has said that he wants to sign a couple of players.

I think that we need a player that can play out wide as we only have Matty Taylor at the moment on the left-hand side, plus I think we need another central defender.

It is important that we get two quality players, rather than four squad additions.

We need to get players that will be potential starters, rather than those to make up the numbers.

If we do that, then the players we bring in should be able to get us promoted and then keep us in the Premier League without having to add many more in the summer.

Tony Cottee was talking to Nathaniel John