Green: Settled side is behind defensive turnaround

PUBLISHED: 12:16 04 December 2008 | UPDATED: 13:51 05 October 2010

Robert Green credits West Ham's defensive turnaround to Hammers boss Gianfranco Zola s decision to stick with a settled back four


ROBERT GREEN credits West Ham's defensive turnaround to Hammers boss Gianfranco Zola's decision to stick with a settled back four.

Green helped the club record a third successive clean sheet at Liverpool on Monday night as the Hammers avoided defeat at Anfield for the first time in nine years.

West Ham have now gone more than 270 minutes without conceding a goal - a stunning statistic given their defensive struggles this year.

Before last month's goalless draw against Portsmouth, the Hammers had failed to keep a clean sheet in 26 Premier League matches. Now they have three in a row.

West Ham have started with the same back four of Lucas Neill, Matthew Upson, James Collins and Herita Ilunga for the past five matches and Green believes that consistency in team selection has helped the club overcome their defensive frailties..

He said: "You know what people can do and you know each other's qualities. It's the same with anything - partnerships up front work the same as partnerships at the back.

"Last season, if you look at it, there weren't many changes and our record spoke for itself.

"The season before that when we had the run towards the end, the back four didn't change and that's a recipe for success."

Green has also played a key role in West Ham's defensive resurgence. The 28-year-old was in top form at Anfield, pulling off fine saves from former team-mate Yossi Benayoun and Dirk Kuyt.

Green's display of brilliance ensured the Reds were unable to make the breakthrough that would have sent them three points clear at the top of the table, but the former Norwich goalkeeper says the entire team should take credit for keeping Liverpool at bay.

"To come to Anfield and do so well is obviously pleasing. The lads put everything in and ran themselves off the pitch at the end of the game," Green said. "It was a tremendous effort. When a clean sheet comes away from home in the Premier League, you take it."

Green's focus on shutting out the opposition hints at a change in approach from the free-flowing, attacking football that Zola promised when he arrived at Upton Park in September.

He believes the Italian is starting to realise that a more pragmatic gameplan is sometimes required if the Hammers are to preserve their Premier League status.

"I think we're learning as fast as he is that if you don't concede goals, you're not going to lose games," added Green.

"Some people say it would be nice to come to Anfield and play wonderful attacking football and lose 4-3 but we've come and dug in and put our bodies on the line. You can't ask for any more.

Latest East London Sports News

Tue, 17:30

Saracens' Owen Farrell believes England's win over Ireland on Sunday was the perfect confidence booster ahead of their penultimate Guinness Six Nations clash with Wales on March 7, writes Ziad Chaudry.

Tue, 16:00

Leyton Orient striker Danny Johnson said it felt like a 'weight off his shoulders' after bagging his first goal for the club in their 2-2 draw with Oldham Athletic on Saturday.

So many positives come from narrow defeat to champions elect

Tue, 14:00

Play With A Legend is returning to Brisbane Road to host its fourth end of season, 'Play on the Pitch event' in four years.

Tue, 10:00

Leyton Orient head coach Ross Embleton has revealed plans are already being put in place for next season as they look to improve the squad.

The Hammers led champions-elect Liverpool in the second half, but could not cling on

Mon, 12:30

Leyton Orient midfielder Jobi McAnuff returned to training on Friday along with a host of the injured personnel.

Mon, 09:42

Leyton Orient head coach Ross Embleton has insisted his strong need a stronger mindset to kill games off after taking early leads after a 2-2 draw with Oldham Athletic.


Looking to rent in London? Securing the keys to a new home in any big city can be an ordeal but there is a way to avoid the common pitfalls of London rentals - dodgy landlords, dubious décor and downright dicey security.

Cauldron Foods' comedy night will give vegans the last laugh as Vegan comics dispel vegan myths.

Riverside flats to let are coming on the market in East London - at highly competitive rents. Too good to be true? A not-for-profit landlord explains how it works…

Most read sport

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Docklands and East London Advertiser
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Most Read

Latest from the East London Advertiser