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Cole: West Ham fans have a huge part to play this season

PUBLISHED: 10:24 18 August 2011 | UPDATED: 10:25 18 August 2011

WATFORD v WEST HAM UNITED - nPOWER CHAMPIONSHIP - 16/08/2011 - PICTURE BY STEVE BACON

WATFORD v WEST HAM UNITED - nPOWER CHAMPIONSHIP - 16/08/2011 - PICTURE BY STEVE BACON

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Striker slams last season's performances as 'dire'

West Ham striker Carlton Cole struggled to hide his delight after opening his Championship account on his first Hammers start of the season in the club’s 4-0 win at Watford on Tuesday night.

The England international was brought into the starting line-up after proving his fitness on the training pitch and scored West Ham’s third goal of the game.

“It was a fantastic performance by my team-mates,” said Cole.

“The manager is very chuffed about the way we played and the style of football we played.

“We weathered the storm in the hard parts of the game and came out on top so we are really happy.”

Cole’s goal came 20 minutes before time and was a real team effort as Mark Noble and Kevin Nolan exchanged passes before the latter found Herita Illunga.

The DR Congo left back then squared to give Cole the simplest of tap-ins.

“It was really nice to have a tap-in to get me off the mark,” said Cole.

“A few more of those this season wouldn’t go amiss. I have to big up Herita though, I thought he had a fantastic game tonight.

“At that stage of the game, for him to be up there in and around the box is amazing, so he did really well.

“He didn’t have to pull it back for me, but he did and I had a simple tap-in.”

With the 4-0 win bringing another clean sheet for Sam Allarydce’s side, Cole revealed that confidence is high within the squad.

“I can’t remember the last time we kept two clean sheets in a row,” he said.

“It bodes well for our goalkeeper and our defence – the whole team really.

“The manager has wanted this since he came in and he wanted us to make a statement tonight and I think that is what we did.

“I think that tonight’s performance shows that we are really serious about this league and we want to put in more good, steady performances like we did tonight.”

The 27-year-old front man was also full of praise for the 3,736 away fans that sang their hearts out for the full 90 minutes at Vicarage Road.

“The fans are always supportive and we need their support as much as anything,” he said.

“If they go against us then we won’t perform well as we will be under extra pressure so the fans are very important in the place where we are at the moment.

“Especially after the dire performances we had last year, we’re in this position for a reason – we weren’t good enough.”

And Cole believes that the West Ham fans will have a key part to play in how the team performs for the rest of the season.

“It is good to know that they are there supporting us and that’s what we will need throughout the rest of the season,” he said.

“There will be a period that will be really hard in this league and we just need to stay strong and the fans have to stay strong and keep the faith.

“Then hopefully we will get out of this league at the first shot and repay the fans in the best way possible.”

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