Tony Cottee: Newcastle punished West Ham for not building on lead
West Ham should have looked for a second, but sat back and let the Magpies back into the game.
Saturday’s defeat was a massive setback and what’s particularly disappointing is that we failed to build on our early lead.
It would have been a huge mental blow to Newcastle if we could get a second goal, but we did not push forward, let them back into the game and we were punished.
We have failed to score twice in any league match this season and although Saturday apart we have made big improvements in the way we have defended, our attacking play clearly needs improvement.
Boss Avram Grant chose to play a 4-3-3 formation and with Scott Parker, Valon Behrami and Mark Noble in the middle, we struggled to get midfielders into the box.
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All the best sides have goal-scoring midfielders like Frank Lampard and Paul Scholes and it is something we lack at the moment.
Parker and Noble should be the starting two in the middle and are playing particularly well this season and personally I feel Behrami would be best suited to playing on the right-hand side of midfield.
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We also seemed to lack a plan b on Saturday, which I have often criticised both the Hammers and England for in the past.
With the likes of Carlton Cole and Frederic Piquionne on the pitch in my mind it is vital to get balls into the box and utilise their heading ability.
Piquionne has scored two goals in the league this season, both from crosses into the box, so to play him out on the right-hand side of a three is a little baffling.
We were too quick to try and play a direct ball to Cole and although it worked at the start of the match, Newcastle adjusted and nullified the threat.
I have said this before, but we desperately lack width and I hoped this had been addressed with the return of Kieron Dyer and the signing of Pablo Barrera in the summer.
Dyer was injured on Saturday and I know it takes time for foreign players to settle into English football, but the best way to blend him into the side is to play him.
He has great pace and like Dyer offers something different and I would like to have seen him start the game.
The only real positive from Saturday was seeing Cole score again. I was really impressed by the way he reacted to being left out the team and I thought it was a good idea from Grant to start him on Saturday.
I hope he can really push on for the Hammers now, because when on form he is still the best striker we have at the club.
Tony Cottee was talking to Matt Diner
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