Tony Cottee: Hammers are on the right track
Confidence is the biggest word in football and West Ham's would have taken a bit of a blow after Saturday,"" says Tony Cottee
Confidence is the biggest word in football and West Ham's would have taken a bit of a blow after Saturday.
When you are at the top you have such a great belief it all works out in your favour, but while you are at the bottom the opposite can happen.
People who haven't played the game professionally will read this and say, 'well he's getting loads of money why should it matter?' And I can understand why they are saying it, but you cannot quantify confidence.
I once went 10 games without scoring and at the time it genuinely felt like I would never score a goal again.
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Luck doesn't run in your favour but bad things come to an end and I broke my duck when a tame shot of mine sneaked under the keeper, football is funny like that.
After the Sunderland game I believe the staff would have soon picked everyone up and told them to keep doing what they are doing because at the moment we are playing pretty well.
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The sending off was certainly a big talking point in the game and it is hard to know what to make of it.
You look at the pictures and Kenwyne Jones does have his hands round Illunga's throat but the way he goes down is a bit theatrical.
They say though that you cannot raise your arms in the modern game and if he doesn't do that then he does not get sent off on Saturday.
It is a competely different game now than when I played and the way it turned out would not have been the same 20 years ago that is for sure.
I don't like to see players trying to get other players sent-off and I don't like to see play acting, so only Illunga really knows what went on.
Carlton Cole scored again and he is in tremendous form. It's not just his goalscoring, but his all-round game at the moment is brilliant and it is important those around him do what they can to make sure his run continues.
It was great to see another striker find the net as well. It was a really good run he made and his goal was a sign of someone who knows how to find the net.
I do think that if you go two up even though they got the goal back, then see the opposition go down to 10, you have to go on and win the game.
The thing is a draw at Sunderland on the face of it, certainly is not a bad result. I was speaking to a lot of West Ham fans on Sunday and many of them agreed that beforehand they would have certainly taken a draw.
But the game progresses and of course your opinion changes when you are winning and playing against 10 men and teams that go through what West Ham did on Saturday week-in, week-out usually get relegated.
There is no need to panic though and I believe Saturday was a one-off and I don't think manager Gianfranco Zola is too far off from getting his team selection and tactics spot on.
It's true we have not had the results, but what has been costing us of late are little mistakes, and things like that can be sorted out a lot easier.
It is easy to talk about winning games, but you actually have to go out and do it and so far West Ham just have not done that.
The squad does lack width, but when you are winning that is not really a problem and I can only see it becoming one if you want to change tactics.
I was lucky that I played with two quality wide men in Alan Devonshire and Mark Ward and I believe wingers can cause defenders to leave their positions and that used to give people like me more space.
We have not won at home all season and although we have only played four games it is important that this problem is sorted out.
Sides that don't win at home usually go down and that is why these games against Aston Villa, Everton and then Burnley at Upton Park are certainly our biggest games of the season so far.
They are tough games especially Villa and Everton, because they both finished in the top six last season, so I would like to see us take six points from these games to ease the pressure a bit.
Tony Cottee was talking to Matt Diner