Tony Cottee Column: Why did Grant not rouse West Ham at half-time?

“Before the match and at half-time is when the manager really earns his money”

A POINT at West Brom is disappointing, but the team must be commended for coming back from three goals down to claim a point.

Last week I said the match at the Hawthorns was must-win for West Ham, considering the Hammers have eight tough fixtures ahead and it worries me that Scott Parker was the one to give the inspirational half-time chat.

It begs the question what the manager was doing at that time and why it wasn’t him geeing the team up?

Before the match and at half-time is when the manager really earns his money and it adds fuel to the fire that he struggles to motivate players.

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Obviously I’m pleased Parker did, because it clearly worked and Carlton Cole after the match told the press how effective his speech was, but I don’t remember in my time as a player the captain ever talking at the break in that manner.

Something obviously needed to be said because the first half performance was unacceptable.

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The defending was horrendous. Yes Graham Dorrans opener was a fine strike, but nobody closed the player down, while the same could be said for the second goal, when four players had the opportunity, but failed to prevent Jerome Thomas from shooting.

The third was from a set piece and it is becoming massive concern we keep conceding goals from free kicks.

I accept we have three central defenders injured, but Manuel Da Costa is probably the strongest player at the club in the air and Winston Reid is also tall. It almost seems like nobody wants to attack and clear the ball and West Ham will keep conceding unless we improve.

Thankfully we were far better in the second half and took advantage of West Brom’s weakness at the back.

With the attacking players we have we were always going to create chances and Frederic Piquionne’s appearance off the bench cannot be underestimated.

He was superb, like he was against Blackpool, but the problem with Freddie like the rest of our strikers at the moment is consistency.

He was poor against Birmingham and we need somebody to step up and find the net on a regular basis.

Could Demba Ba be that man? We’ll see. He looked sharp against Birmingham and did well again scoring twice on Saturday. He looks a real threat.

Tony Cottee was talking to Matt Diner

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