Tony Cottee: Performances at this stage don't matter. It's all about the points
PUBLISHED: 14:37 15 April 2010 | UPDATED: 15:52 05 October 2010
The victory against Sunderland was a huge win and although we did not play brilliantly, performances at this stage of the season are completely irrelevant,"" says Tony Cottee
The victory against Sunderland was a huge win and although we did not play brilliantly, performances at this stage of the season are completely irrelevant.
With six games to go every point is precious and the success on Saturday was a fantastic result for the football club.
We got the ball forward a lot quicker at the weekend and it is something I have been keen to see us do.
At times this season we have been too slow with our passing and the goal on Saturday came from us being more direct.
We have to use our assets as much as we can.
Carlton Cole is one of our biggest assets and it is good to see us play in a way which suits his style of play.
I know Scott Parker was missing and he, at the moment, is our most creative player, but I don't think his absence had much of an impact on how manager Gianfranco Zola would have asked his players to approach the game.
I am not sure if it is too much of a benefit to play Parker, Radoslav Kovac and Valon Behrami in the same side at home.
You do need creativity at home because a lot of sides would be happy with a point at Upton Park and are likely to play five in midfield making it harder to create opportunities.
I would like to see the like of Mark Noble and Alessandro Diamanti start games at Upton Park because it does give us a much better chance of unlocking defences.
However, playing more direct did mean Cole had more of a role to play and he was the main man in two key moments of the match.
Firstly I believe he should have got a penalty after he was rugby tackled to the ground by Craig Gordon late in the first half and it was his header that set up Ilan for the winning goal.
The referee awarded a free kick against the former Chelsea man for a foul on Gordon moments before he pulled him down and in my mind there was no doubt that he had done nothing wrong.
I get so frustrated with referees when they give goalkeepers that kind of protection and it has got to a stage where they expect to win a free kick every time they challenge for an aerial ball.
I have been saying for a long time that goalkeepers are a protected species and I am not saying we should go back to 'the good old days' of Dixie Dean shoulder-charging the goalkeeper into the net, but there must be a lot more common sense shown.
Burnley winning 4-1 at Hull City is amazing result for both us and the Lancashire club.
They were absolutely awful against Manchester City the week before and when I saw that Hull had taken the lead I thought that would be it.
I must admit I did not see that result coming, especially as they had not come close to winning on the road all season.
It meant it was a great weekend for West Ham and you talk about six-pointers, but that win for Burnley has kind of had the same effect.
Both teams are now four points behind us, but that is effectively five because our goal difference is far superior, though we cannot be complacent.
If I am being honest I believe we have enough points at the moment to stay up, because after that defeat, it will be so hard for Hull to find confidence or momentum, but to be safe we should aim for 34 points and one more win.
For me it would not be a huge surprise if we managed to get a point at Anfield against Liverpool next Monday.
They are in poor form and could be without Fernando Torres, who would be a huge loss and is one of their two star players.
Steven Gerrard is obviously the other one and he would himself admit he has not been in the best of form this season, so we have a great chance.
I'm not saying we are going to go there and win, because we have not done that since 1963 and it is still a huge task to go to Anfield and come home with the victory.
However, after the draw at Everton last week and the win at home to Sunderland on Saturday West Ham will head to the north west full of confidence and keen to get the points needed to preserve their Premier League status.
It is such a wonderful place to play football and the ground has not changed too much over the years.
It is one of the finest stadiums in the world with a great atmosphere and I think every footballer looks forward to playing there.
When I was a professional footballer, I always looked forward to playing there, which may come as a bit of a surprise when, in my first outing we were soundly beaten 6-0.
I was 18, new to the professional game and Liverpool were champions of Europe at the time.
I don't think I had a touch of the ball during the 90 minutes and we were totally outplayed by a superb side.
Thankfully I don't see that score line being repeated this Monday however and there could be a surprise on the cards.
Tony Cottee was talking to Matt Diner