Tony Cottee: West Ham battled to a well-earned point at Everton
West Ham really showed their battling qualities on Sunday to get a draw at Goodison Park,"" says Tony Cottee
West Ham really showed their battling qualities on Sunday to get a draw at Goodison Park.
We played pretty well in the first half, but really upped the performance in the second period and more than did enough to justify leaving Merseyside with a share of the spoils.
A goal down, Mido (below) missed a penalty not long before half-time and at that point you thought that the confidence would have been drained from the side.
When I first saw the penalty incident I thought it was just a case of two players coming together and referee Howard Webb seemed to take an eternity to make a decision and even longer to give Sylvain Distin a yellow card.
I thought that when he had given the decision he would have had little option but to send the player off and I was a bit confused as to why he was only shown a yellow.
It shows great charachter and fighting spirit though to miss the penalty before half-time and twice come back from behind to draw level, especially with Everton's second coming only five minutes before the end.
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I don't know what manager Gianfranco Zola said at half-time, but West Ham came out rejuvenated in the second half, pushed Mido closer to Carlton Cole and we were a lot more effective.
We were a little more direct, but it worked and Scott Parker really pushed the team forward.
Once again he was outstanding for us, while Junior Stanislas looked really dangerous at times and Cole led the line well. So it was a good team performance and they earned what could be a vital point.
You can't talk about the game without discussing our second goal which was absolutely superb.
I was sitting right behind Julien Faubert when he crossed the ball into the box and it was a sensational piece of play.
It showed that wide players don't always have to pick players out, but put the ball into a space for the forward to attack. Ilan certainly did that and scored with a brave diving header.
The goal came out of nowhere and it certainly caught Everton cold, who were probably switched off because they had only scored themselves two minutes earlier.
The draw vindicates Gianfranco Zola's decision to give the players a rest after last Saturday's defeat to Stoke.
It was a bit like Russian Roulette to make that call, but I agree with Zola and a rest was probably what was needed for the team.
Either way it was Gianfranco's decision and no-one should interfere with how he runs the team.
If he wants to give the players time off he should be able to.
Zola is right about the Fulham affair and Roy Hodgson has every right to pick whatever team he wants to.
Fulham are safe from relegation and are still in European competition so I don't blame him for wanting to save his best team for European games and I don't think chairman David Sullivan is complaining to take the pressure and focus off Zola's men.
We rested players against Chelsea and Arsenal to save them for more winnable games, but you don't see Sir Alex Ferguson complaining to the FA about West Ham's team selection.
I think the Hammers are trying to sue Fulham, because Fulham are trying to sue us over what happened two years ago in the Carlos Tevez affair and I think both sides are clutching at straws a bit.
Sunderland is a must-win game for West Ham this Saturday and what makes it all the more nerve-wracking is the unpredictability of our opponents.
If we win this game plus the one against Wigan it leaves us with 34 points, thanks to the Everton bonus and I believe that would leave us very close to having enough to stay up.
You never know what Black Cats side is going to turn up, but you know they have the ability to cause a lot of problems.
Darren Bent is in superb form at the minute and has had an excellent season, scoring 23 goals.
Kenwyne Jones is another big player for Sunderland and with Lee Cattermole back, they will have a fair bit of bite in their midfield.
Steve Bruce will also be desperate to put one over West Ham as I am sure he can remember when he played for Manchester United, the Hammers causing them a few problems at key times in their season.
Sunderland are however missing a few defenders and we have the attacking options to exploit that, so it is important we deliver balls early into the box to give Carlton Cole the best chance of scoring.
We will have to do so without Scott Parker though who is suspended for this game and the Liverpool match and his absence is a big blow.
I wasn't aware when he committed the foul that he was a booking away from suspension, but when I saw him pleading with Howard Webb, I knew he was in trouble.
It means now that someone will have to step up and be a creative force in the middle and I am backing Mark Noble to step forward and do the job.
Tony Cottee was talking to Matt Diner