Tony Cottee Column: Now is the time for West Ham to stand up and be counted
“If West Ham want to win automatic promotion, then their home form needs to be sorted.”
When I was writing my column last week, I was confident last week that the Hammers would take six points which would have taken them top of the Championship and provided Sam Allardyce’s men with a real chance to push on for the title.
However, once again West Ham fans were left frustrated with their team’s performance.
I managed to watch both games and they both had a really similar feel to them and it is starting to look like we have a slight problem with our home form.
No disrespect to Watford or Doncaster, but they are the teams that we should be beating at Upton Park.
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However, to look on the positive side, we didn’t lose either match and we remain just three points off top spot, with a game in hand on both Southampton and Reading, who sneaked above us with their draw at Doncaster on Tuesday night.
We started really well on Saturday, but we couldn’t keep the intensity after we got that first goal, which often happens to teams.
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I don’t know why, but the longer that a team doesn’t score a second goal, the more confidence the opposition gets, which is what we saw on Saturday.
I think that the Hammers fans have been brilliant this season and they have been very patient, but they want to see West Ham win their home games and rightly so.
Yes, teams will come to Upton Park and put 10 men behind the ball as it is their biggest away game of the season, it is like a cup final to them.
Because of this, their players will give that extra 10 per cent, and the Hammers don’t seem to be able to break teams down at the moment, which is a concern.
I don’t know why, but it seems as though we don’t have a Plan B for when things aren’t going our way at Upton Park.
If West Ham want to gain automatic promotion, then their home form needs to be sorted.
There is no excuse for it, and there is no place for players to hide when it comes to this time in the season.
Now is the time for West Ham’s players to really stand up and be counted and push on to get back into the top two, and ultimately win promotion back to the Premier League.
I know that a lot of people have been blasting the forwards for not taking their chances, but I would question the quality of those chances.
A lot of the time they are not clear-cut chances, but opportunities the forwards have had to create by themselves.
I personally think that the quality of service has been lacking for the strikers this season, so it is harsh to lay the blame completely on the forwards.
This weekend, the Hammers travel to Leeds in what will be a clash between arguably the two biggest clubs in the Championship.
It will be a tough game against Neil Warnock’s side, who we know will be well-organised and willing to fight and scrap for 90 minutes.
In front of 30,000 fans at Elland Road, I would be happy if West Ham managed to get a point to stay in touch with the teams at the top of the league.
If the Hammers play like they did in their last away game at Cardiff, then Allardyce’s men should push Leeds all the way.
Tony Cottee was talking to Nathaniel John